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Attributes are a core part of the value proposition of Identity Federation: Identity Providers issue trustworthy attributes about subjects to Service Providers, which then provide levels of service corresponding to those recieved attributes (e.g. according to a contract with the institution or the identity or affiliation of the subject).

For Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC, a model better suited to distributed systems than RBAC) to work all parties must have a shared understanding of the data elements transmitted, their exact form(at) and their meaning. Therefore standardizing attibutes and their use is an essential component of all Identity Federation and Interfederation efforts.