Microsoft Acquires Credentica’s U-Prove Technology

Hi, Brendon Lynch here….

Today is an exciting day for privacy and Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. One of the main objectives of Microsoft’s privacy strategy is to provide our customers with more control over the collection and use of their personal information. Today we unveiled the acquisition of an important privacy-enhancing technology that aligns very well with this objective. Microsoft has acquired Credentica’s U-Prove technology for private and secure identity and access management, together with all of the underlying patents invented by Dr. Stefan Brands. This technology can, among other things, enable people to prove things about themselves without needing to reveal their identity.

The Internet is rapidly transforming the way that people communicate, work, shop, bank, play and access government services. Digital identities, most often incorporating personal information, power many of these interactions. Unfortunately, personal information has also become a currency of crime, and some forms of digital identities can be compromised with relative ease. Phishing, fraud and identity theft are undermining trust in the Internet.

Credentica’s U-Prove technology will help people protect their identities by enabling them to disclose only the minimum amount of information needed for a transaction – sometimes no personal information may be needed at all. When this technology is broadly available in Microsoft products (such as Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Cardspace), enterprises, governments, and consumers all stand to benefit from the enhanced security and privacy that it will enable. We look forward to a world where people have more control of their personal information and are better protected from harms of online fraud and identity theft. Stefan Brands has now joined Microsoft’ Identity & Access Group along with his colleagues Christian Paquin, and Greg Thompson.

I first met Stefan Brands a number of years ago when he was at Zero-Knowledge Systems. At the time, I was a business consultant who was beginning to learn the privacy space. Trying to get my head around his inventions served as valuable crash course for me in privacy-enhancing technologies. I must say that I am now delighted that Stefan is at Microsoft where his important privacy work will be able to impact our customers and where he can resume my education!

For more information about this acquisition means to Microsoft, Stefan Brands and Kim Cameron, Microsoft’s Identity Architect, will be posting their thoughts on the acquisition at the Identity Corner blog and Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog, respectively. Also the Credentica Web site provides additional detail on the technology and its potential uses.