What is the Information Card Foundation (ICF)? - When In Doubt, Farm It Out!
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It's pretty obvious where all or most of the technology is coming from, since Microsoft has been working on this for at least a decade. What is not so obvious are the strange bedfellows that Microsoft now finds itself among, seeking support. To be specific, these are direct competitors. It also seems quite obvious that Microsoft realizes it can't always easily replace Internet-wide practices alone, just because it thinks it could; or more specifically yet again, should.
After two decent attempts at completely revolutionizing the way people send secure information across the Internet, Microsoft wisely found support in industry heavyweights with enough power, resources and overall pull to renew this attempt, providing a more "objective" and "worldwide friendly" approach.
The main difference between the ICF approach, and Microsoft's past angles of attack, is through establishing this three-part system (communications triangle). An initiating user would begin by synchronizing via an encrypted network and using an ID provider such as a credit card issuer or banking institution.
Once this encrypted connection is established, the ICF proposes that the addition of a "reliant" party, much like a scholastic network, e-commerce site or other financial institution, to complete the secure triangle. This differs from using standard hard ID cards in your wallet because this model requires all three groups to be synchronized in real time, making the ideal data transaction.
The ICF's primary goals are to support and guide both existing and future efforts to enable development of an open and trusted identify platform for the Internet that maximizes the control one holds over one's personal information.
Businesses and other organizations can benefit from the use of I-cards as well, to improve their relationships with vendors and users alike. This includes any number of groups, such as health care providers, government groups, and educational and financial institutions.
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