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Government Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

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How Can We Grow the Open Identity Exchange in Canada?

Canada can achieve Digital Economy leadership through pioneering key Internet-scale architectures.

With the USA charging ahead with key Internet innovations like 'Trusted Identities,' what can Canada do to keep up?

'Trusted Cloud' infrastructure can refer to how Cloud Computing systems can be assured to be secure enough to run shared application scenarios, like eHealth Community Clouds.

It can also refer to trust relationships between different information systems, so that these applications can then securely share data like electronic patient records. These secured interconnections are described as 'Trust Frameworks'.

A number of leading Internet-scale Identity experts have been pioneering their evolution into the Open Identity Exchange (OIX). In the earlier work they defined how these Open Identity technologies are a keystone of Open Government, and offer a white paper that explains how Trust Frameworks operate.

Early adopters include the National Institutes of Health, and the central Identity Management authority for the US Government has been defining the standards and best practices for their adoption, where they list the OIX as one of the Trust Framework providers, and also the Kantara Initiative.

Canadian Cloud Identity
It's compliance with Kantara that the Government of Canada are seeking from their managed Identity authentication service, so we can begin to see how these exciting pioneers might be localized here in Canada too.

In their Cloud Computing Roadmap the requirement for Cloud Identity is identified on slide 15, through “GEDS2.0″, a software framework that will enable an environment of common functionality for credentials, directory synchronization and single sign-on across multiple internal and Cloud apps.

This shows how staff could use it for their private Enterprise 2.0 apps, and it would also provide the same single sign-on efficiency for public web applications too.

Governments spend a huge fortune duplicating process systems across different agencies, both in terms of paper forms as well IT applications. Each repeats the process of capturing user information and requiring authentication to provide them access to online systems. By leveraging existing Internet-wide mechanisms, in essence a global citizen ID, they’ll all be able to eliminate this wastage and provide streamlined single sign-on access to their national application set.

Other Government projects also looking for the same common Identity authentication capability include:

  • In RFP#2010-KR-015 the Healthcare organization 3SO is looking to utilize Microsoft applications like Sharepoint and CRM to facilitiate a regional Surgical e-Referral System and a Clinical Document Repository, a central point for securely sharing patient records among collaborating healthcare providers. They plan to link it up to ONE-ID, the eHealth Ontario Identity single sign-on program.
  • Similarly Elections Canada is planning a Web Services Reference Architecture that will provide single sign-on across their web application estate, and enable a very exciting use case of 'iVoting'.

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