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authorization vs. authentication: "Authorization" and "authentication" look and sound similar, and have meanings that are easily confused, but it is important to understand and keep separate the two concepts:

  • authorization relates to, for example, who is allowed (authorized) to do something or have certain privileges.
  • authentication relates to confirming the identity of someone who is authorized to do or have something.

For example, (can't think of a good one yet): you may be authorized to drive a car by the state you live in by virtue of having passed a driver's test and so forth. However, mere physical possession of a driver's license should not allow the possessor to drive -- there must be various forms of authentication to confirm that the driver's license really belongs to the person holding it. (Things like confirming that the photo looks like the person.)

Having a driver's license (with a photo that looks like you) may also authenticate your identity to the person behind the desk at the local video rental store, but it doesn't authorize you to take videos home; they may have a different procedure for that involving getting your credit card number and signature so they can charge you if you don't return what you rent.



  • RandyKramer - 03 Feb 2002
  • KennethRaeburn - 06 Feb 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>
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Topic revision: r3 - 2002-05-18 - RandyKramer
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