In the physical world when a few people interact within a small open space, it is easy for participants to use their senses to determine the physical identity of each person and to know what each is doing within that space. However, within the global matrix of cyberspace, how do individuals identify a physical person with whom they are interacting, and how do they determine if that individual has personal attributes that foster appropriate “trust”? Identity management is the set of infrastructure components, policies and procedures that allow parties interacting via the internet to be identified and trusted on a global scale while at the same time strongly ensuring personal privacy. All this should occur with the same ease as using public Web resources.
In the diagram below:
- an individual presents her authentication credential to a relying party
- the relying party accepts the trusted authentication credential
- knowing the physical identity of the presenter, the relying party
- verifies from an attribute authority certain personal attributes of the presenter
- grants the presenter privileges to which she is entitled