E-Authentication: Making Trust Possible


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Term Explanation
Identity Credential A thing that a person possesses - in this case a log-in ID, in the form of a User ID and PIN and/or password - that identifies that person as a distinct individual.
Identity Credential Issuer An organization that issues identity credentials to individuals, and validates those credentials when presented by a user attempting to access a protected Web resource. An identity credential issuer may be a government agency, an academic institution, or a commercial business, such as a bank.
Government Service A web-based computer system operated by an agency of the US Government
Relying party Anyone (or any application) that relies on someone's identity as represented by their credential
Assurance level A relative measure of confidence in the quality of a credential; when used in Eauth the assurance level ranges from level 1 (little or no confidence) to level 4 (very high degree of confidence)
Authentication Authentication is the process of establishing confidence in user identities. This is accomplished by establishing that someone is in fact who he or she claims to be.
Authorization Authorization is the process of giving someone, once identified (i.e., authenticated), permission to do or have something.
Federated identity A system that allows individuals to use the same user name, password or other identity credential to access the Web sites or services of more than one organization in order to conduct transactions.
Federation Members of a federation system depend on each other to authenticate their respective users and vouch for their access to services offered by other members of the federation.

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E-Authentication Initiative (EAI)
The E-Authentication Initiative (EAI) was established to assist agency system owners in developing trust relationships with their user communities through the efficient, effective use of electronic identity credentials. To accomplish this objective, the EAI leverages both new and existing identity credentials across multiple trust environments using a federated identity model that includes both policy and technical infrastructure for identity management. Using this model, citizens and businesses have easy access to multiple agency applications through the re-use of existing credentials and established identities. In other words, the EAI responds to the growing demand for time-saving online services by leveraging an existing supply of trusted credentials that are already available and in use by the American public.
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