The Liberty Alliance Project is an organization of over 150 members comprised of business, non profit and government agencies. The alliance is developing an open standard for federated network identity.
A federated network identity is the combination of different IDs, passwords and other attributes known to all of the organizations that provide you with services. Liberty’s Draft architecture, Liberty ID-FF Architecture Overview Version: 1.2-errata-v1.0, describes a schema that would give the identity holder more control and more privacy, while at the same time requiring less frequent requests for credentials like IDs and passwords.
Important concepts in the informational document include separate roles for service providers, the companies that provide goods and services and identity providers. Although not necessarily different entities, in their role of identity provider these organizations would perform the initial authentication and vouch for the customer to the service providers. The other service providers would need to trust the identity provider.