Higgins Trust Framework (HTF)

The Higgins Trust Framework (HTF) is an API (application program interface) that allows end users to store identity information in locations of their choice and share portions of that information anonymously with online vendors and service providers in a controlled manner... (Continued)

The Higgins Trust Framework (HTF or Higgins, for short) is an open source project under development by the Eclipse Foundation that seeks to make sharing of identity information easier and more secure. IBM, Novell and Parity Communications are among the organizations contributing to the project. According to Dale Olds, an engineer at Novell, the purpose of the project is to give users more control over their online identity information.

The Higgins framework enables users to securely store identity information and related data and to integrate that data across multiple systems and applications. Stored data can be shared anonymously among Web applications, online vendors and service providers in a controlled manner. The Higgins API (application program interface) can be thought of as a repository for cookie-like data that makes it convenient for users to conduct e-commerce and interact with Web sites, without the security problems inherent in conventional cookies that reside on the user's hard disk.

As of mid-2006, Higgins is available for use with Firefox and requires a plug-in. The intent is to make the framework compatible with all popular browsers and operating systems.

Higgins is named for a long-tailed Tasmanian jumping mouse. From the project Web site: "Recently there has been a lot of talk about the power of the long tail. Most population distributions have a long tail whose needs historically couldn't be met because it was too expensive. Digital technology can allow the needs of the long tail to be addressed efficiently."

This was first published in September 2006

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