Authentication Principles

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Trust and confidence remain critical to the success of e-business. Recognizing this, a Working Group, drawn broadly from Canadian industry, consumer groups, professional associations, academia and various levels of government has developed a set of Authentication Principles for the e-business marketplace. The Principles take into account policy, legal and technical elements of authentication that will be required in an evolving digital marketplace.

The Principles identify the functions and responsibilities of participants in authentication processes and provide a framework to assess and manage the risks that accompany these responsibilities. They also identify essential elements of security, privacy, disclosure and complaint handling that need to be taken into account at each stage of the design, development, implementation and assessment of an authentication service.

The Principles relate to the authentication of electronic communications in its broadest sense. They apply to authentication processes used in connection with electronic communications that take place between businesses or governments and other organizations, between organizations and individuals (consumers or citizens), and between individuals. The Principles are stated at a high level of generality and technological neutrality to avoid limiting choice or constraining how authentication technologies are implemented. They do not distinguish between types of implementations, the nature of the participants or the technology to be used The Principles are designed to function as benchmarks for the development, implementation, and use of authentication services in Canada and are intended to form the basis of codes of conduct, voluntary initiatives and guidelines tailored to the requirements of specific industry and government.

The Principles are an excellent example of Canada's public and private sectors partnering in initiatives aimed at better harnessing the full potential of the digital economy.