2020: September

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.


This Director's Corner comes a few days late, such is the level of activity in Kantara in recent weeks.  Some of it has been announced but there is another major announcement scheduled for this week with more beyond.    

Last month I mentioned how governments around the world are announcing plans to bring in legislation regarding digital identity within a few weeks (even days!) of each other.  So, when I was asked by Think Digital Partners to write a piece as part of my role on its Advisory Board, I chose to write about this topic.  It is quite intriguing, in one sense, given just how close these announcements are to each other. But, in another sense, it is understandable.  In that post, I talk about why that might be, as well as share the scope of planned legislation to the extent of my knowledge.  My observations are broadly restricted to the 'five nations' common law countries not only because I am most familiar with them, but also three of the five are Kantara members.  You'll hear more on that subject this coming week! 

I do think, however, that there is an emerging pattern.  Kantara has a highly reputable, globally recognized assurance program for accrediting assessors and approving that applicant service providers' solutions are conformant with a given standard - NIST SP 800-63-3 being most sought after in recent times.  COVID-19 has put the spotlight on the need for more digital interaction with government by its citizens and with consumers more broadly.  Digital identity is fundamental to addressing those interactions, especially if they are higher risk transactions for payments etc from Government.  Ergo, public sector interest in Kantara.  That's my theory anyway, but I'd welcome your view!  This circle of interdependence is something that the Board recognizes too, as members will see in the next couple of months when its review, and refresh, of Kantara's strategic direction and priorities are presented for wider review and comment.     

Remember also that Kantara is structured so as to enable its community working groups and discussion groups to act as the steward for the frameworks and associated assessment criteria for conformance to standards within those frameworks.  While not all projects, from all groups, lean this way, when they do, great synergy can be achieved.  For example, the IAWG, which is comprised of experts from the private, public and Higher Education sectors as well as individuals and accredited assessors, develop the assessment criteria for Kantara’s Identity Assurance Program.  Alongside developing submissions to requests for contributions on digital identity-related matters as part of Kantara’s global civic duty, IAWG also develops the assessment criteria needed for the accredited assessors to consistently assess and report their findings on applicant service provider solutions.  

Toward these dual ends, the IAWG has had a huge few months.  Firstly, in relation to NIST SP 800-63-3, the IAWG developed criteria for 63C (FAL2 and FAL3), as well as the level 3 criteria for 63A (IAL3) and 63B (AAL3) that are coming to the end of their All Member Ballot period. Thanks to ID.ME for its sponsorship of this effort.  (NOTE BENE: If you are the primary representative of your organization, or an individual member, please do your duty to the community by abiding by the email sent to you and casting your vote on this important work).  Secondly, last week the IAWG completed and submitted its input to the open public consultation on the European Union's eIDAS regulation.  Some of the response was submitted as a response to an online questionnaire (which we can't link to) but our additional responses in support of the online questionnaire is here. Thank you individual contributor member Mark King for leading the active, and animated discussion at meetings and on the list regarding this, and to Staff (Ruth) who took it on the final path to submission.  

I'm pleased to announce that material progress had been made on the long-waited Kantara mDL Discussion Group.  Kantara Individual Contributor member John Wunderlich successfully proposed a Charter to the Leadership Council.  This DG - actually called the 'Privacy & Identity Protection in mobile driving license ecosystems' , the PImDL DG -  will focus on rounding out the ISO 18013-5 mDL standard's privacy and security recommendations in Annex E.     

While Kantara Europe remains very busy with coaching existing NGI_Trust projects, Kantara Initiative Education Foundation reached a milestone by submitting its first ever grant funding application to one of the US DHS grant funding programs, arising out of the FIRE WG.  Our thanks to individual contributor members Sal D'Agostino and Tom Jones for the heavy lifting on this.      

I could not sign off on this blog without particular mention of Kantara's announcement last week that Kantara and SAFE Identity have entered into a non financial, non exclusive agreement to co-market and recognize each others non-PKI and PKI Trust Marks respectively where reciprocity exists.  This news is not only foundational for the organizations themselves but also profound for the industry.  For as many years as I have been in this industry (over 15 years now), I have seen continuous fragmentation and 'gold rush' self interest prevail. Collaboration amongst competitors, when it did happen, was usually around standardization and development of best practice in the neutral venues such as Kantara or standards setting organizations that suit multiple parties objectives.  The Kantara-SAFE collaboration is a  major change.  By recognizing and respecting each organizations' strengths and capabilities we both have recognized that complementing rather than competing is a rational approach.  To me it signals - at last! - that this industry is capable of removing friction for the betterment of its stakeholders and consumers and that we are here, in this ecosystem, to serve.               


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, Ruth, Chris 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!