Microsoft and Liberty Alliance to reconcile web transaction security

The Liberty Alliance is discussing with Microsoft how to reconcile their competing sets of protocols for secure web transactions.

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The Liberty Alliance, a consortium working on policy and technology issues for identity management, is discussing with Microsoft how to reconcile their competing sets of protocols for secure web transactions.

The Liberty Alliance, whose participants include HP, Sun and IBM, backs the ID-Web Services Framework (ID-WSF), a set of protocols for web services, while Microsoft supports another set, WS-Star.

"We have finally put down the boxing gloves and are trying to figure out how to solve our customers' problems," said Roger Sullivan, the newly-elected president of the Liberty Alliance and vice president of Oracle's identity management section.

The protocols are used for secure information exchanges over the internet. Eventually, the standards will likely converge, Sullivan said. Microsoft has been "cordial" in discussions with the Liberty Alliance, he said.

"We believe the Web Services Framework from Liberty complements the WS-Star protocols very well," Sullivan said.

But two sets of standards create problems for enterprises who may have already invested in infrastructure, and enterprises may delay identity projects because of confusion, he said.

"We have customers who have deployed WSF, and we need to help them reconcile the two standards stacks so when convergence happens, it will be logical," Sullivan said.

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