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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'..

In trying to think how this past few months of world history will be documented, I'm mindful 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, city refuse and so on are nearly always overlooked in the cut and thrust of issues of the day that we have the luxury of engaging in because our others needs further down Maslov's hierarchy are taken care of - largely by these unsung heroes.  Times like we have today are an opportunity to reflect and reset - not just our economies and our ecologies, but also ourselves as human beings.  Perhaps our industry even learns a thing or two along the way - that fragmentation and competition give way to coherence and collaboration.  The future will not be the same as the past. Things will return to the way they were. Valiant attempts there will be, I'm sure, but the reset to 'the new normal' may in fact 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 draw in 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 are doing in various aspects of the COVID crisis, just as it calls out the great work its members 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 great works, because it really is all about them.  


It's all about 'playing it forward, and Kantara itself is doing just that. These are difficult times, not only for people but also for organizations of all sizes - especially new and small ones. While too early to announce here, Kantara is helping out another non-profit with a project it was looking for the right type of sponsorship for, to undertake a project with very humanistic values at its heart, the sponsorship in part paying for the use of Kantara's platform to bring it to life. Things being as they are, Kantara is playing it forward because important as the money is to Kantara, more important is the project.  'Nurture, Develop, Operate - that's what we do' is Kantara's strapline. We are holding true to our ethics and ethos of low barriers to community participation for the common good of the digital ecosystem. This project exemplifies that and more broadly beyond the digital ecosystem.  

For me, the reality of the crisis began to hit home at Connect:ID in Washington DC March 11-12. We never got further than March 11 as the Convention Center management closed us down at the direction of  the DC Health authorities. But fortunately our time at the podium was straight after the opening Keynotes. I hastily replaced the two speakers who withdrew, one each from the UK Government and Mastercard. After taking the opportunity to announce that Idemia's Matt Thompson had taken the Presidency over from ForgeRock's Allan Foster after seven years of service, I curtain-raised with a presentation comparing common law Government digital Identity programs around the world. Next up was a fantastic public-private sector extended-time panel, comprising representatives from the OMB, GSA, Lexis Nexis, Better Identity Coalition and our own new Board member organization, Idemia. Highly informative with great questions from the floor, we entertained folks till lunchtime, after which the closure of the conference was announced. There was plenty of traffic to Kantara's booth #210, brilliantly supported by member Easy Dynamics Corporation's Sarah Chu to help Kantara DC Ambassador Chris and we had further collaboration from KIPI R&D Program performer members Exponent and MDAV/ValidIDy.  The next day, we were on stage in Europe too where Kantara's Director of Assurance Operations Ruth Puente, Conference Chaired the Whitehall Media's IDM Europe one day conference at the Steigenberger Airport hotel in Frankfurt Judging by the Twitter fall, this worked out wonderfully for all.   We won't have conferences for a while yet, so Kantara was both grateful and fortunate to feature in the final two identity conferences for a while to come.  

Talking of R&D, Tallinn Estonia-based Kantara Europe is gearing up promotion of the NGI TRUST 3rd and Final call which is now open and closes barely a month away on May 4th. Please consider the following; if you have a great idea but not located in the EU, ensure you have an EU based partner to front it for you, even if you are based in the UK); be aware that we expect more focus to be placed on Type 2 and Type 3 proposals that really are capable of mass consumer adoption; and perhaps not surprisingly, current circumstances may engender greater attraction to proposals including use cases applicable to epidemiology.

Meanwhile, the work continues unabated, if anything, even busier. The Assurance Review Board has just accredited a new assessor, Slandala, that I mentioned joined last month which is just in time as we have additional service providers preparing for pre-assessment as they seek the coveted Kantara Trust Mark for NIST 800-63-3 at IAL2 and AAL2.  Thanks to's sponsorship of an editor, development continues on the Service Assessment Criteria for NIST 800-63-3C (Federation Assurance Levels) continues in the Identity Assurance Work Group, alongside our support of Canadian non-profit DIACC on the review-and-comment process of the revised drafts of the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework. The ISI-Work Group has its first 3 projects in the starting blocks and attracting global participation, such is the interest in the future shape and form of the Kantara Consent Receipt specification and the emerging draft retro-fit framework underpinning it, so please participate and contribute. UMA-WGs doubling down on conformance and interop testing but join right right now to see Thursday's presentation on its UMA extension work from member Identos.  The FIRE-WG has two interesting papers in play that are receiving good vibes from the Healthcare sector with some context shown here.    

We continue to 'circle the wagons' on exactly what slice of work the notional Work Group on mDL (Mobile Drivers Licence) might take on, to progress its use as a mobile identification tool. Newly released is the Secure Technology Alliance (STA)'s mDL White Paper that Kantara members Exponent, Idemia, individual contributor members David Kelts & Ken Dagg and Staff gave time and effort to. The challenges published there are informing our perspective on the work items of the workgroup.  It's quite an art to locate and align Replying Parties requirements with the priorities of vendors, together with Kantara's capabilities, so expect it to take a little while yet. Meanwhile please Contact Us if you have an interest in moving mDL for mobile digital identity forward. 

And that's the thing. In our lifetime there has never been an event so impactful on the world's people than this pandemic. Yet in the break-glass circumstances we find ourselves in, there has never been a time when digital identity and and privacy awareness are more important. I know other member organizations have done similar but this one caught my attention from UK member Folio.ID was posted on LinkedIn a few days ago.  Members, Kantara can amplify your posts, but only if you make it aware. The best way to do that is tag your posts on Social with @KantaraNews or equivalent so we pick it up.

New members continue to steadily arrive at our community door.  This month we welcome individual contributor Kate Downing and welcome back Qroot Consulting from the Netherlands together with individual contributor David Kelts. Thank you all!  

Kantara's staff are spread across the world - Italy, Spain, the UK, Argentina and the US.  We are all in varied forms of lockdown but we remain safe, well and serving you every day. Please stay safe and well too, so that we can continue to help deliver the great work that you do.

Whether in good times and in bad times, we face our challenges together and we work through them together. This time is no different. But the tide will eventually turn and Kantara's global community and the people it serves will emerge to embrace the good times that seem distant right now. But one day at a time the good times get closer.


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! 

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