Fear of liability is one of the most significant impediments to participation in the emerging identity market. Yet the term “liability” is often misapplied, and the risk of liability is often misunderstood.

The OIX Board of Directors is pleased to announce the publication of the first of a series of white papers addressing one of the most significant barriers to the growth of the open identity market: legal liability.

The Vocabulary of Identity Systems Liability,” written by Tom Smedinghoff, Mark Deem, and Sam Eckland, is the first of a planned series examining liability in identity systems. This paper seeks to explain the concept of liability, and to develop a common understanding of what it means for participants in an identity system to incur liability. As such, the intention of the paper is to introduce identity system experts to the fundamentals of legal liability while introducing the context of a federated identity system to legal counsel.

The paper builds a foundation for further research and analysis of models for allocating liability in the US, UK and other common law nations.