Ping Identity joins OpenID Foundation

* Move could push OpenID into a better relationship with SAML-based SSO and federated system

There were some interesting moves in the user-centric identity space last week, which may (or may not) foretell some changes coming in the next year.

Pam Dingle's name has come up in this newsletter before (e.g., "Where to learn all you can about CardSpace", usually in the context of Microsoft's CardSpace or the non-Microsoft equivalent, Infocards. She can frequently be found at The Experts Conference, Digital ID World or the Internet Identity Workshop extolling the virtues of the card metaphor for identity.

Ping Identity is a name that also surfaces here frequently, either because of its products and activities or the actions of its  peripatetic CEO, Andre Durand. Ping was an early participant in the identity federation space, offering the first commercial federation server. It has been a force within the Liberty Alliance (and it's successor, the Kantara Initiative) and has helped mold the SAML (Security Access Markup Language), which is the backbone of federation technology as practiced by most enterprises today.

Late last year Ping made Dingle  an offer she couldn't refuse so she signed on to work in CTO Patrick Harding's office.

That brought together one of the foremost advocates for user-centric identity (Dingle) with a major player in the enterprise-centric identity market (Ping).

So it was with a great deal of surprise that I learned last week that Ping Identity had joined the OpenID Foundation, and

Dingle would be Ping's representative on the OpenID Board of Directors.

OpenID and CardSpace really aren't antithetical (although some OpenID advocates would like to think so), and the two protocols have been on the verge of interoperating for quite some time. Ping, in fact, started time ago as a way to allow CardSpace/Infocard users to also use a linked OpenID as a simplified sign-on (SSO) solution for Web sites that supported it.

This move could go a long way towards further integrating the two user-centric identity protocols but also moving OpenID into a better relationship with SAML-based SSO and federated systems. How ever much comes of it, the OpenID Foundation will be better for having Ping Identity as a member, and having Dingle of the Board of Directors.

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