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IBM wins European Identity Award

Makes Available New Open Source Code for Developing Privacy-Friendly ID Management Applications

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Munich, Germany, 5 May 2010—IBM Research was honored with the Best Innovation European Identity Award 2010 from Kuppinger Cole, an analyst firm focused on information security, identity, and IT governance. IBM's Identity Mixer technology was recognized for its pioneering work that offers simultaneously both strong authentication and privacy. The award will be presented this evening at the firm's annual European Identity Conference in Munich. Simultaneously, IBM Research is also announcing that the latest version of its IBM Identity Mixer technology is now available free-of-charge.

Harriet Pearson, IBM vice president, security counsel and global chief privacy officer, comments, “The security of the planet's critical systems is enhanced when only properly authorized and identified people can access them.  By making privacy-sensitive identity technologies available for free via open source, IBM hopes that they will be quickly adopted and be the basis of a new, global identity management standard that incorporates cutting-edge privacy by design concepts.”

The European Identity Award is nominated by Kuppinger Cole analysts and it recognizes companies with outstanding projects and initiatives in identity management.

“This technology will fundamentally influence the way we deal with privacy in IT and it will help in bringing the concept of minimal disclosure of identity-related data to reality,” said Martin Kuppinger, co-founder and principal analyst at Kuppinger Cole.

IBM Identity Mixer uses sophisticated, yet efficient, cryptographic algorithms to help ensure that an individual's real identity, including personal attributes and behavior profiles, are never exposed to a service provider without the users consent. This technology is suitable for a wide range of applications, including insurance, healthcare services, credit cards, or incentive systems, such as airline frequent flyer programs.

Using the latest version of IBM Identity Mixer, which is available as a free-of-charge download, users can develop privacy-friendly online applications, for example:

  • As a teenager you recently received your government-issued digital identity smart card - giving you access to teenage chat rooms on the internet.   Since your smart card has IBM Identity Mixer, you can prove that you are between 12-15 years of age without revealing any other information stored on your identity card, not even your exact birthdate. Thus, IBM Identity Mixer provides additional measures to assure parents that only teenagers have access to the chat room.
  • Imagine you are in need of a minor operation and choose to consult an online medical information portal offered by your insurance provider. To protect your privacy, the insurance provider allows you to access the portal with IBM Identity Mixer. The system can securely authenticate your credentials without specifically identifying you, allowing you to search for advice in complete anonymity.

“IBM and its partners are collaborating for the European Union to develop sustainable privacy and identity management for future networks and services. To promote these solutions as standards we are developing them using a common platform which will then be shared with the greater software community and standardization bodies,” comments Jan Camenisch, computer security scientist, IBM Research - Zurich.

Data Protection for Life

Funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme, IBM Research - Zurich and a multidisciplinary consortium of universities and companies across Europe have be collaborating on the PrimeLife project since 2008.  The goal of the project is to protect privacy in emerging Internet applications such as collaborative scenarios and virtual communities as well as to explore on how to maintain lifelong control over one’s personal data.

As part of its open innovation initiative, IBM has made the Identity Mixer library publicly available for download as part of the PrimeLife project. 

Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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