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Internet2 Community Demonstrates Shibboleth Middleware Inter operability with National Science Foundation's FastLane

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  • From: "Lauren Rotman" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: Internet2 Community Demonstrates Shibboleth Middleware Inter operability with National Science Foundation's FastLane
  • Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 12:43:56 -0500

Internet2 Community Demonstrates Shibboleth Middleware Interoperability with
National Science Foundation's FastLane

Demo and Pilot Program Marks First Major Step towards Inter-federation of
Research & Education and Federal Government Identity Management Federations

CHICAGO, Ill. - December 7, 2006 - Today, for the first time, the Internet2
community demonstrated the interoperability of its Shibboleth federated
identity management software with the National Science Foundation's (NSF)
FastLane online grant administration system. The interoperability demo is
the first step in a program to establish large-scale interoperation between
the InCommon Federation, serving U.S. higher education and its partners, and
the U.S. E-Authentication Identity Federation, serving U.S. government
agencies. The event marks a major milestone in allowing the research and
education community to use their existing campus' identities to access
essential online federal government resources.

NSF's FastLane is used by over 250,000 researchers, students, faculty and
other research professionals to efficiently manage their grants and
proposals via a secure web interface. The demonstration, which took place at
the Internet2 Fall Member Meeting held this week in Chicago, allowed
Principal Investigators at the University of Washington, Penn State
University, and Stanford University to use their campus-issued sign-on
credentials, enabled through Shibboleth, to access FastLane services.

Parvati Dev, Director of SUMMIT, the learning research lab at Stanford
University School of Medicine, who participated in the demonstration
observed, "As a medical researcher I know the importance of controlling
access to sensitive information and protecting people's privacy. I
appreciate that this system is secure, and is easy for me to use and
provides a more streamlined way for me to access my online grant proposals
and other important grant information related to my research work. I also
assist federal agencies in reviewing research proposals from other
universities and again, secure, private access is absolutely necessary."

Shibboleth, a SAML-based software suite, provides Web Single Sign On (SSO)
capability and a secure attribute exchange framework to enable individual
access to an unlimited number of online resource providers. Shibboleth
leverages an institution's existing sign-on and directory system to
authenticate users and then passes only relevant identity information to the
provider. The system removes the need for universities to set up multiple
passwords and accounts for each online resource. To date, Shibboleth has
been deployed by thousands of research and education institution sites

Kevin Morooney, Vice Provost for Information Technology at Penn State
University said, "Creating online credentials for individual access to
protected resources has traditionally resulted in a great deal of
administrative overhead for campus IT departments as well as additional
security burdens for the users who need to remember multiple logins and
passwords. Today's demonstration highlights how we can make research and
academic life easier for faculty, students, and researchers as well as
enable institutions and the NSF to save on operating costs while improving
security and individual privacy."

Dr. George O. Strawn, the NSF Chief Information Officer, also observed the
value to the research community, saying "using the federated identity
management model enables single sign-on meaning more IT security and less
time spent keeping up with logins. This can translate into more time for
research and education activities. NSF has a long-standing commitment to
funding transformative middleware initiatives such as Shibboleth. The U.S.
E-Authentication Identity Federation and the InCommon Federation working
together will enable NSF to leverage authenticated credentials from its
academic partner institutions."

In the future, the system will allow an unlimited number of qualified users
to access FastLane from partnerships between the U.S. E-Authentication
Identity Federation and the InCommon federation for U.S. research and
education. This pilot program with NSF also lays the groundwork for
inter-federation between InCommon and E-Authentication. In doing so,
potentially millions of students, educators, researchers, and staff in the
U.S. higher education community will be able to more easily access a vast
range of Federal agency applications that have become essential to their
academic missions.

Georgia K. Marsh, Deputy Program Manager for the E-Authentication
Initiative, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration,
said, "The mission of E-Authentication is to provide secure access to
government services to citizens, businesses, other governments and
communities of all kinds. Working with the higher education community via
InCommon enables us to provide access to key services more securely and
cost-effectively. We are excited about the integration of the Authentication
Service Component into agency applications, such as those in the Department
of Education that are used by millions of students."

RL "Bob" Morgan, Senior Technology Architect at the University of Washington
and Chair of the Middleware Architecture Committee for Education (MACE)
added, "Today's demonstration with FastLane marks an important milestone in
realizing and validating our vision of creating interconnected trust
communities for seamless and secure access to information and services.
Through important partnerships between research and education, government
and industry, as we have demonstrated today, we believe the federated
identity management approach is becoming the industry standard for secure
and privacy-preserving access to protected resources of all kinds."

About FastLane
FastLane ( is a web-based grants management system used
by over 250,000 scientists, educators, technology experts and
administrators, including the country's top researchers, to prepare and
submit NSF proposals for funding, check on the status of their proposals,
peer-review these proposals, prepare and submit revised budgets, prepare and
submit post-award notifications, and report on the progress of their
government funded research. Organizations can also request funding
increments and report on billions of dollars in expenditures through

About Internet2(R)
Internet2 is the foremost U.S. advanced networking consortium. Led by the
research and education community since 1996, Internet2 promotes the missions
of its members by providing both leading-edge network capabilities and
unique partnership opportunities that together facilitate the development,
deployment and use of revolutionary Internet technologies. Internet2 brings
the U.S. research and academic community together with technology leaders
from industry, government and the international community to undertake
collaborative efforts that have a fundamental impact on tomorrow's Internet.
For more information:

About the Federal Governments' E-Authentication Initiative
The General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is
the managing partner for the E-Authentication Initiative, one of 25
Presidential initiatives designed to expand the use of electronic
government. The Initiative developed the framework and service to enable a
secure, consistent and standardized approach for on-line identity
verification of citizens, businesses and other governments to Federal
government applications and services. The chosen solution was establishment
of the U.S. E-Authentication Identity Federation wherein government agencies
can rely on identity credentials, such as PINs/user ID's/passwords, issued
and managed by other organizations within and outside the Federal
government. Members of the Federation are Relying Parties (Federal agency
applications) and Credential Service Providers that have adopted a set of
agreements, standards and technologies to make identity portable across
multiple domains. For more information:

About InCommon(R)
The InCommon Federation provides higher education institutions and their
sponsored resource partners with unparalleled privacy, security, and
scalability for accessing protected online resources. InCommon is based on
the concept of federated administration enabling participants to become part
of an association of organizations that agree on a set of attributes and
policies to exchange information about their users for access to restricted
resources. As a limited liability company, InCommon is operated by Internet2
and managed by an independent Steering Committee representing the higher
education and research community. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Lauren Rotman


Greg Wood


Leslie Fink
Head, Media Relations and Public Information
National Science Foundation


  • Internet2 Community Demonstrates Shibboleth Middleware Inter operability with National Science Foundation's FastLane, Lauren Rotman, 12/07/2006

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