A new role for UK AMF?

A later presentation on the first day gave details of the STORK project to deliver interoperability of personal electronic identities throughout the EU. The project is moving towards the pilot stage and is considering two modes of operation – either developing middleware to integrate between the various national identity systems or adopting a federated approach.
One of the pilots relates to student mobility and data. The basic aim of this pilot is to enable students to register at one institution using attributes from their home country and to also allow the student to authorise the transfer of data from their home institution. The pilot is likely to use a SAML based approach with institutions being service and/or authentication providers. There is a commitment to link in with whatever technology or system an EU member state has adopted. Since the UK Access Management Federation already exists and has the potential to allow access to authenticated data for the student population, is there the opportunity for UK AMF to take advantage of the delay in the Identity Card project in the UK and take the lead in providing access management for all nationals in the UK?

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One Response to “A new role for UK AMF?”

  1. David Harrison Says:

    Overload prevented me from replying earlier to this post.

    Like you I was impressed at STORK, the concept is rather good and the federated access to learning modules one that would be interesting to follow, particularly in the liught of the OpenLearning JISC call just recently.

    So, yes “access federations” have their place and Bologna makes them a near certainty to be the adopted methodology for cross-border collaboration. However a couple of cautionary notes.

    Firstly, in general the European federations are still a little immature and the UK one is much more mature (albeit with some serious areas of improvement needed), so until we have a level playing field of mature federations the dream won’t become a reality – that’s a couple of years off I would suspect.

    Secondly, the idea of mega-federations is one that the UK-Federation has discussed and come to the conclusion that it’s better to inter-federate than get bigger. We need to give leadership to the establishment of a NHS Federation, a local-authority/government federation (outside Becta which is in the UK Federation – which will need to be renamed one suspects at some time).

    What is of course interesting is who will be the identity providers in the future. Currently your IdP (ie the HE/FE instution providing the service) is also well-placed to be an identity provider for OpenID, et al. However would it not be better to consume the identity closer still to the source and thus the link from School to IdP needs to be examined carefully.

    Thanks for the nudge … apologies for the delay

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