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OAuth stands for “Open Authorization.” OAuth 2.0 is an open standard authorization protocol that enables secure data sharing without requiring users to give out their credentials such as login information or passwords. Through OAuth, users can grant restricted access of their resources to a third-party or to safely access resources of a third-party themselves.
Like SAML and OpenID, OAuth is an industry standard Internet-Scale Identity System that simplifies work for developers and businesses and is used by web services including Twitter, Google, and Facebook.
OAuth is the standard for API (Application Programming Interface) delegation with built-in support for mobile devices, websites, set-top boxes, and desktop applications.
By giving the user security tokens instead of requiring login or password information (or other secure credentials) to hand out, OAuth allows for securely defined information sharing. For example, each token may grant access to a specific resource (e.g. a video inside a specific folder) for a pre-determined duration (e.g. for the following 24 hrs).
EmpowerID itself uses OAuth to keep APIs used by enterprise customers secure while enterprises use it to protect the APIs they themselves offer to third-parties.