2020: April

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.


'It was the worst of times, it was the best of times'..

How will historians describe this pandemic crisis period I wonder..  I'm reminded of the This Dickensian paradox from the Tale of two cities'.

Amongst the global scale, severity and suffering of the COVID-19 outbreak, have been some truly remarkable stories of courage, duty or calling and selfless dedication. The people who do often largely thankless tasks to maintain our everyday living and to keep us safe and well, have rightfully been called out for our adulation. The contribution of those in healthcare, in law enforcement, in transport and logistics, in city refuse and so on are nearly always overlooked in the cut and thrust of the issues of the day that we have the luxury of engaging in because our other needs further down Maslov's hierarchy are taken care of - largely by these unsung heroes.  Times like these that we have today are an opportunity to reflect and reset - not just on our economies and our ecologies, but also on ourselves as human beings.  Perhaps our industry even learns a thing or two along the way - that fragmentation and competition should give way to coherence and collaboration.  The future will not be the same as the past. Things will not return to the way they were. There will be valiant attempts I'm sure, but the reset to 'the new normal' may actually bring some good.  Let's hope so.

For me, it has been interesting to observe how different organizations in our industry have approached this period. For years now, we have raised awareness of just how critical appropriately applied digital identity is to much of our digital lives - strong and secure when the identity-related risk in the use case calls for it, less so when it is not. Same with privacy - having agency over our personal data volunteered by us or collected by others. Different uses cases call for different approaches, brought into sharp focus right now when trust in one's government authorities, in one's digital platforms, in the developer community is pivotal to our adoption of apps for contact tracing, for test validation and so on.

The role that industry organizations play is important. But it is not all about them - tempting as it is - to attract attention by binding to the issue of the day.  You'll note that Kantara has not played that game. The reason it exists is because its members want it to exist. Kantara has called out the great work its members such as UK members digi.me at Director level and Folio.ID are doing in various aspects of the COVID crisis, just as it calls out the great work its members all round the world are doing in other aspects of the digital economy at any other time.  Kantara is blessed with some of the most thought-leading and innovative organizations and individuals in our space on the planet. Kantara amplifies and showcases those, and other members' great works, because it really is all about them. And as I said last month, it's about 'playing it forward' for the long haul - not sound bites on the issue of the day. 'Nurture, Develop, Operate - that's what we do'.  

Kantara can amplify even more member posts, but only if it is made aware of them. The best way to do that is tag your posts on Social Media with @KantaraNews or equivalent so we pick it up.

It has been an intense month for Kantara on the international standards front, with the ISO SC27 meetings held virtually instead of in St Petersburg.  Kantara has a formal liaison, attends meetings and last year, proposed the new work item which was recently approved by national bodies and goes by the descriptor ISO/IEC TS 27560 Consent record information structure.  In approving the project, there were comments from China, Italy and the Philippines. However the disruption impacted the appointment of editors so, as the proposer of the work, it fell to me to draft a successful disposition of comments so that a working draft #1 could be produced in advance of the next meeting in Warsaw in September. The consent-related project work in the ISI-WG has relevance to the ISO effort going forward, so please participate and contribute to the ISI-WG.    

The Identity Assurance WG continues preparing additional Assessment Criteria for accredited Assessors to assess service providers seeking the Kantara Trust Mark for NIST 800-63-3 to encompass NIST 800-63-3C (Federation Assurance Level 2) and following that, all of Level 3 - IAL3, AAL3 and FAL3. While on the topic of the Classes of Approval available under Kantara's Identity Assurance Program, the ARB and Staff are in the midst of refreshing the look and feel of the Trust Status List to both add more detail and make it easier to follow for the steadily increasing volume of interested parties to the page.  Talking of testing, the UMA-WG is soliciting interest in recrafting some existing work to test some AS basics. We also continue to 'circle the wagons' on exactly what work we might undertake in a future mDL Work Group to accelerate the adoption of its use in mobile identification. And we are about to start start re-circling the wagons around conferences in the latter part of the year. Kuppinger Cole's Custech in October is a case in point, where much of the work that members had put into the pre-conference Workshop as a curtain-raiser to the European Identity Conference that was due to be held this month, can be re-tuned for Custech, and without the stipulation of in-person presentations and associated travel. But before that, expect to see members and Kantara staff online in the Festival of Identity and the OWI's Digital forum. Please Contact Us if you have an interest in any of the topics above.  

Adding to our steadily increasing cohort of Individual contributors, this month we welcome Cigdem Sengul and Manvendra Kumar. Thank you!  


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, Armin, Oliver, Chris and myself are only too willing to assist.  Contact them here.

Events: See them all here!