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Liberty Alliance Announces New Group
Messaging Service Interface Specifications Group Formed

"This business represents a large source of income for mobile operators and content providers alike," explained Timo Skytta, vice president of the Liberty Alliance and director of Web services at Nokia, as the Alliance - the global consortium for open identity standards and identity-based Web services - today announced the formation of a team focused on creating service interface specifications for content messaging, including both SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service).

This specification will be deployable based on Liberty's Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF), and will offer more privacy-friendly content messaging for mobile device users and enhanced business opportunities for service providers.

"It represents a huge opportunity for privacy intrusion and increased spam," Skytta continued, "since users are exposing their telephone number directly the content providers, who can then easily give or sell this information to others. The Liberty team recognized an opportunity to create a powerful service interface specification that would protect privacy, enhance the business opportunity for the content providers and deliver additional interoperability and ease of integration features, allowing service providers to team together to provide multiple offerings in a privacy-respecting manner."

Content messaging - content geared for mobile devices, such as ringing tones, skins, wallpapers and other premium services - is a rapidly growing business, particularly across Europe. Users are increasingly using SMS or MMS to obtain this content. The business model is straight-forward. Content providers advertise available content, prompting users to send a short SMS or MMS text message to obtain the content. The content provider receives the message, and then downloads the requested content to the user via a series of SMS messages with the content encoded.

The Content SMS & MMS (CSM) Service Interface Specifications are being designed to provide content providers with access to a mobile network, allowing receipt and delivery of SMS and MMS messages both to and from users. In doing so, users will be able to obtain content for their devices anonymously, with the content providers unaware of the user's mobile telephone number or address. The specification, based on existing Liberty's identity management capabilities, will provide features such as different user identifiers for each content provider, periodic updating of these identifiers and user ability to terminate their federation with a content provider. This effort complements work that has already been completed within Liberty, through specifications as well as best practices guidelines, to help companies deploying Liberty specifications to comply with European privacy protection regulations.

A proof of concept application for the messaging service specification was demonstrated at a June 15, 2005, meeting of the messaging services group. The identity-enabled Web service, developed by Trustgenix and Vodafone, allows mobile subscribers to order content from a third party provider using their handset or a PC Web browser, while maintaining the anonymity of their phone number. The application is based on current Liberty and SAML federation standards. For more details on this proof of concept application see today's related Trustgenix-Vodafone press release.

"In addition to the important privacy controls this new interface service will allow, standardized of all interfaces gives Content Providers one interface to implement versus having to implement different technologies for every operator," explained Donal O'Shea, Executive Director of Liberty Alliance. "This is a true realization of the benefits of web services-for the user, the provider and the partners. As the seventh Service Interface Specification initiative brought forward by the Liberty Alliance membership, this further advances Liberty's leading position as a Web services specification organization. Identity is the least common denominator for all value transactions over any network and with any device, and this is a core reason why organizations turn to Liberty when privacy and user-control are a must."

All levels of members within Liberty Alliance are eligible to participate in the development of service interface specifications. Current members of the CSM Messaging subteam include Ericsson, Neustar, Sun, Symlabs, Telefonica Moviles, Trustgenix and Vodafone.

About SOA News Desk
SOA World Magazine News Desk trawls the world of distributed computing and SOA-related developments for the latest word on technologies, standards, products, and services and brings key information to you in a timely and convenient summary form.

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