Current methods for validating online identity have significant flaws. Many websites require customers to share, and sometimes over-share, personal details in order to confirm their identity before a transaction can take place. This process is problematic because the hassle of repeatedly submitting personal information can deter individuals from making online transactions. AT&T engineer Jay Glasgow's white paper, released at the Internet Identity Workshop in October 2011, introduces an innovative new model for managing identity verification online called the Personal Levels of Assurance (PLOA) platform. The PLOA platform can greatly simplify the way online transactions take place.
How did the Idea Hatch?
Based on his expertise, AT&T asked Glasgow to head up AT&T Identity Manager, an ambitious attempt to unify customers' central profiles across a wide spectrum of cloud applications. The goal was to verify our customer's identity in one secure step while also protecting each transaction and its sensitive financial information. Through his experiences, Glasgow discovered many companies were insufficiently addressing how customers could more efficiently validate their personal identity. He wanted to develop a new solution to make the process much easier. In August 2010, Glasgow had his epiphany. He believed the goal of customer online verification should be to protect each individual transaction instead of each session. Shortly after this theory began to take form, Glasgow vetted the new approach both inside and outside AT&T with some of the world's thought leaders in the identity space.
About the Project
With PLOA, a customer's personal data is stored within a single, secure framework, eliminating the need for customers to enter their personal data every time they want to make a purchase on the web. This provides websites with the ability to verify details about a user's identity by simply checking a central repository. For users, PLOA makes the web easier to use and limits exposure of their personal data. Online transactions are faster and safer, one of AT&T's main goals when it comes to improving the customer experience.
AT&T began implementing the idea of PLOA in 2010. In March 2011, AT&T decided to publish the concept as a white paper. A number of contributors throughout the company helped make the concept a reality, and their efforts were realized when the first production PLOA platform was established in May 2011. Two identity experts, Drummond Reed, Co-Chair for OASIS XRI and XDI technical communities, and Scott David, a senior partner with K&L Gates Law Firm specializing in electronic commerce and intellectual property, endorsed the project. Contributions from IBM and support from AT&T's own world-class security organization also strengthened PLOA.
The concept currently is used in production within multiple AT&T offerings. AT&T looks forward to strengthening cross-carrier ventures, such as the Wholesale Application Community project, with PLOA assurance.
About the Researcher
As a thought leader in the area of AT&T Identity Manager, Jay Glasgow is committed to improving the way we communicate freely with confident control over identity and privacy. He has proven experience working with collaborators in various fields in shaping product vision, developing executable plans, leading teams, inspiring innovation, and bringing to fruition real-world applications for the telecom, banking, commerce, and insurance industries. Jay is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.