2021: May

Hello everyone 

This is the running update from the Executive Director. Have questions or comments? Suggest some added information or edits? Contact Colin at kantarainitiative dot org.


As I begin to write my final Director's Corner as Kantara's Executive Director, after five and a half years leading the organization, I am certainly doing it with mixed emotions.  There is sadness because of the all the highs that I'll miss.  It is exhilarating when the organization reaches a milestone, or when its members achieve a breakthrough, or there are highly thought-provoking conversations with community friends and industry counterparts.  It has been such a blast!  But with the highs also come the lows, such as when the organization encounters a setback or when a member incurs the loss of a loved one.  There are also my regrets on leaving some projects unfinished as the clock ticks down.  Highs or lows regardless, I'll miss them all because Kantara has been my life (and a large part of my wife's life too as she has had to put up with Kantara/me!) for a chunk of years now.  Don't kid yourself.  Running a global non-profit - particularly with the ethics of equality, transparency and low/no barriers to participation that Kantara embraces in its mantra - is not easy street.  Alongside significant inter-organizational collaboration, it is a competitive and political environment that is demanding on one's time - sometimes exceptionally so - and on occasion can take you well outside your comfort zone.  So there is something kind of attractive in winding down to the more balanced life that most folks think typifies New Zealand - more relaxed, less deadline-driven and closer to nature.  However, I'll still be lurking!  So don't count me out too soon while I continue some activities in Kantara as well as for its members and the wider global digital identity community for some years yet.  I'll be writing to members to say my 'see you around' later this month, and to update them on the handover to my successor.

My role is not the only part of the organization seeing change.  There are changes afoot in the Assurance Trust Framework operations program too.  This program is a major part of the organization.  It gets global attention and attracts increasing numbers of services seeking conformity assessment and approval against Kantara's NIST SP 800-63-3 and other classes of approval under its Identity Assurance Framework scheme.  If you would like to be involved in Kantara's scheme operations, please let me know. 

It's so good to have the support of new and renewing members.  In May we saw Dr Owl Health Technologies and Zenkey, the Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile collaboration as well as Linaltec from Sweden all join as new members while Internet2, Experian, Verizon and 2Keys Corporation from Canada renewed for another year.  Thank you!  Supporting the Kantara community in its endeavours helps Kantara support you!  Backatcha! 

Regarding events:

  • the Think Digital Identity for Government in May featuring our Government members GSA, DTA and less directly related, the Government of Sweden was hugely informative and well received by the largely UK government sector audience. 
  • The Leadership Council chairs pre-recorded their Identiverse session providing updates and goals achieved since the 2020 Identiverse update. This will be released a few days before Identiverse kicks off on June 21.
  • The US Healthcare industry association CARIN Alliance, that Kantara has very close ties with, pre-recorded its panel for Identiverse last week also, where Cambria Health's Max Templeton, Blake Hall from ID.me and myself riffed and jived under the expert moderation skills of CARIN's Ryan Howells.
  • But before we get to Identiverse later in the month, we have the IdentityNorth Annual Summit underway in Canada right now. We look forward to seeing Ruth (Kantara's Director of Assurance Operations), Joni Brennan (DIACC), Shannon Peterson (Kantara member DTA), and Jeremy Grant (Better Identity Coalition) discuss aligning Canadian standards with International standards in digital identity and why that's important. 
  • While on the topic of things Canadian, stay tuned for more details on a webinar featuring Kantara, DIACC and friends DTA's Juleigh Cook and NIST's David Temoshok due for broadcast later this month, on the value of national and international industry organizations  for enabling trust and identity.  

To finish, I am delighted to signal an upcoming announcement regarding Kantara and Women in Identity.  The relationship began in 2019 when both organizations sought sponsors for WID's code of conduct for diversity and inclusion, then in 2020 Kantara joined WID but since that is free, also made a modest donation.  It's good that 2021 will see a more formalized partnership.  Stay tuned for details.  

Highlighting collaboration with other industry organizations segues nicely into my personal reflection of this industry that I have been deeply involved in since 2005.  I guess my report card might finish with 'could do better'.  The fragmentation of industry consortia continues unabated, tho' the turning circle to realize that collaboration is better than competition is thankfully getting shorter.  Governments take some responsibility too, since the 'build it in a silo, burden it on the world' undercurrent to some public sector efforts over the years has added needless friction and complexity to interoperability.  How is digital identity doing vs say, the payment card industry?  My answer is that it is not maturing at the rate that it needs to.  Will the pandemic serve to reset private-sector self interest/public-sector national interest over international interest?  I sincerely hope so.  As it stands to today my answer is as above - 'could do better'.          

Recent new members have asked about how they can support Kantara by representing it onstage both at Kantara events and at other events in which Kantara is invited to participate or lead.  Absolutely!  Just Contact us and Staff will direct your enquiry to the right person.  Organizations can support Kantara for mutual benefit in other ways too.  For example, significant mutual benefit can be derived from sponsoring work in Groups that might otherwise be undertaken internally and be the poorer for the lack of international peer review and credibility that publishing at Kantara brings. 

Amongst a slate of community Group work baking in the oven, the PImDL Discussion Group voted through a Group-Approved draft of its Privacy and Identity Report to support ISO compliant mDL implementations.  The Leadership Council will see it next.  This important report remains on track for publication before the end of the month.  The draft Report should help allay potential concerns raised by @ACLU here https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1396479281862164480 as to what happens if mDLs are not implemented in compliance with ISO 18013-5. The report also gives consideration to assisting non ISO compliant implementations (e.g., using  decentralized architecture).

While I remain over-fully engaged through June, I sign off my last Director's Corner here, happy but also a bit sad that this is my last blog under this banner.  As I think back to the 10th Anniversary in 2019, and what has been achieved both before and since, I am proud of this organization's work these past 5+ years through the tireless efforts of its volunteer members, staff (who do a considerable amount of volunteering too!) and its reinvigorated Board.  There is lots more to come this year, including more 'industry firsts' to add to our virtual trophy cabinet.  My successor will share these with you via some means, if not this blog.   

Remember, if you are not a member, and don't receive our direct emails, sign up to receive KantaraNews or keep an eye on @KantaraNews on Twitter as well as Kantara on LinkedIn where we try to get news shared as it breaks.  

Kind regards,


Around the Houses:


Program, Work Group and Discussion Group Updates:

  • You can always keep up with the latest news from the Work and Discussion Groups directly on the Leadership Council's Blog. See the list of public groups here.

  • As always, our Specifications, Recommendations and Reports are available for download from our Reports and Recommendations web repository - now with frictionless access.  

  • Not sure where to find things? Membership Bella, Trust Framework Operations & Assurance Director Ruth, Business Development Ambassador Chris, Board Secretariat Ken and myself, together with the Kantara IT team consisting of Sebastian and Gonzalo led by Armin are only too willing to assist.  Contact them here.

Events: See them all here!