[Wg-uma] New Scenario: Managing Information in Which Employers and Employers Both Have a Stake

Eve Maler eve at xmlgrrl.com
Fri Sep 18 06:37:31 PDT 2009

There was a scenario with three use cases that I presented on my blog,  
and I've now done it as proper contents of our Scenarios and Use Cases  


It's reproduced below.  Let me know if you have feedback. (While I was  
mucking in the overall document, I also went and marked the Calendar  
scenario as "accepted", and modularized the loan request scenario into  
its own wiki page...)


Scenario: Managing Information in Which Employers and Employers Both  
Have a Stake (Pending)
Submitted by: Eve Maler

Both an employer and their employees might want to impose their own  
constraints on the sharing of the same employee-related resource.  
Examples of pieces of information your employer holds that you might  
want to share with others:

Employment status (e.g., active or inactive; often needed when you  
apply for a loan)
U.S. Internal Revenue Service W-4 (tax withholding) form details  
(handy for sharing with accountants and investment planners)
Some additional ones listed in the Liberty ID-SIS Employee Profile  
Service specification:

Employee ID internal to enterprise
Date of hire
Job start date
Employee type (e.g., part-time or full-time)
Internal job title
The following “user stories” capture the distinctive aspects of this  

As an employee, Alice wants to audit and control the further  
dissemination of information her employer must know about her as a  
condition of employment.
As an employer, BigCo wants to adhere to laws and best practices  
regulating its sharing of information about its employee.
See the use cases below for the different configurations in which the  
actors might appear.

Issue: In large companies, typically the function of verifying  
someone's employment is outsourced to a specialized company. The  
employer is still seen as authoritative for employment status and  
other such data, though. For such information, where in the use cases  
below the employer is assumed to be the authoritative Host, perhaps  
the employer needs to provides a pointer to the employer's chosen  
verification service resource, such that the resource being shared is  
a pointer to a pointer (double indirection). Or perhaps the employer  
instructs Alice to introduce her AM to the real Host directly.

Use Case: Employer as AM and Host (Pending)
Submitted by: Eve Maler

Here, the employer runs an employee profile self-service application  
that could include both AM and Host functionality. The AM could let  
Alice configure her sharing policies, but could also let Alice know  
that it will be enforcing additional constraints out of band with  
respect to UMA.

This is probably a “legacy” solution because it forces the employee to  
seek out other relationship managers in the outside world where  
they’re just an individual rather than an employee, and it seems the  
employer would be hosting the AM only for corporate inertia  
(admittedly, a force to be reckoned with).

Use Case: Employer as Host (Pending)
Submitted by: Eve Maler

For information for which the employer is authoritative (”Is this  
person employed here?”), it could offer a Host willing to attest to  
this on request (in accordance with the instructions issued by Alice's  
personal AM). If the employer doesn’t want to release the data even  
though the employee wants to allow the sharing, it could use existing  
access control mechanisms that are out of band with respect to UMA.

Issue: Should the employer-Host surface a response code to the  
Requester that reflects this type of refusal? Should it provide audit- 
log data back to the AM?

Use Case: Employer as Requester (Pending)
Submitted by: Eve Maler

For information that Alice already self-asserts to the employer (”What  
is the employee’s home address of record?”), the employer should  
ideally consume this data in the same way some other “vendor” (online  
service) on the open Internet could. If the employee moves, a number  
of workflow actions have to unroll on the employer’s side as they  
would have anyway (in the U.S., moving to a different state might  
involve withholding a different amount of state income tax), but this  
is already handled in existing systems when the employee provisions  
the new information into employee profile apps by value. An on-board  
“personal datastore” Host is shown here with the user’s chosen AM, but  
the Host could just as easily be remote.

Eve Maler
eve at xmlgrrl.com

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