Kantara Initiative Launches To Address Global Identity Landscape

Organization will work on harmonization and interoperability challenges that exist among identity-enabled enterprise, Web 2.0, and Web-based applications and services

June 18, 2009

6 Min Read


Washington DC, June 17, 2009 " Nearly 45 organizations from the global identity and Internet communities today announced the launch of Kantara Initiative, a new organization formed to solve the harmonization and interoperability challenges that currently exist among identity-enabled enterprise, Web 2.0 and Web-based applications and services. Kantara Initiative has been founded to collaboratively foster the innovation required for broad adoption of interoperable identity-enabled solutions across industries, regions and fixed and mobile networks. As of today's launch, nearly 20 initial work and discussion groups have been proposed by the growing Kantara Initiative community. Kantara Initiative will hold a public webcast to overview the new organization on Wednesday, June, 24 at 8:00am US PT (3:00pm UTC).

The launch of Kantara Initiative comes after a year of strategic planning involving stakeholders representing the entire identity ecosystem. This planning focused on how to best move the industry forward as the enterprise identity landscape continues to evolve and use of social networking and Web 2.0 applications rapidly proliferates, with growing interaction between these three markets driving new use cases and identity requirements. With zero barriers to participation and founding principles based on transparency, inclusion, empowerment, innovation, collaboration and openness, members of the community are leveraging the successes and experiences of each other to drive holistic, interoperable and trusted identity solutions into the global marketplace.

"The identity product and service market grows more complex every month, and as the market gets more moving parts, there are more and more requirements for all those parts to work together. The parts aren't going to work together unless the part makers work together - and that's why today's announcement is important," said Bob Blakley, principal analyst, The Burton Group. "The Kantara Initiative is helping to bridge identity initiatives and organizations, which can help set the stage for better collaboration in the global identity sector."

Board of Trustees and Leadership Council - Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Based on a Bicameral Governance Model

The Kantara Initiative has been established based on a bicameral governance model where the Board of Trustees and Leadership Council work hand-in-hand as peers in steering the direction of the organization. The bicameral model ensures that all members and participants can have a voice within Kantara Initiative.

With today's news, Roger Sullivan, vice president Oracle Identity Management, has been elected president of the 2009 Kantara Initiative Board of Trustees and J. Trent Adams, outreach specialist, trust & identity, Internet Society, has been elected chair of the Leadership Council. Initial Board of Trustee members include AOL, BT, CA, Intel, Internet Society, Fidelity Investments, Novell, NRI, NTT, Oracle, PayPal and Sun Microsystems. Representatives from Intel and the New Zealand government have Leadership Council seats on the Board of Trustees.

According to Sullivan, "The problems the global identity industry faces today are not just about technology, but rather a combination of business policy and privacy requirements, balanced against interoperability, usability, as well as technology harmonization. All of these issues need to be addressed for identity-enabled solutions to succeed and for deployers to leverage their benefits. Kantara Initiative is uniquely positioned to address these needs."

A Holistic View " Technology, Policy and Proven Interoperability

The Kantara Initiative structure has been designed to foster the development of new identity-related technology and policy initiatives from initial proof-of-concept and incubation, to go-to-market and long-term adoption strategies. Existing projects moving into Kantara Initiative will benefit from additional community input which will include identifying new use cases, support for adding functionality, and opportunities for proving interoperability with other projects, initiatives and technologies.

All output from Kantara Initiative will be based on open standards with the goal of ensuring end user convenience, security and privacy. A commitment to open standards means the Kantara Initiative community will collaborate on projects that make use of all of the identity frameworks, protocols and specifications in the marketplace today. This means solutions could be built based on one or a combination of several IAF, ID-WSF, IGF, Information Card, OAuth, OpenID SAML 2.0, WS-*, XACML and XDI standards.

Focus Spanning Identity Initiatives - Nearly 20 Work and Discussion Groups in Progress Today

The Kantara Initiative name, which is Swahili for "bridge" and has Arabic roots in "harmony," was announced at the April 2009 RSA Conference and since then members of the identity community have proposed nearly 20 initial work and discussion groups. All groups are open to every Kantara Initiative member as well as to the public, and anyone can suggest a new group to the Leadership Council at any time. Groups are formed by members and participants to address common issues and problems related to specific industries.

Proposed groups, which are being approved on an ongoing basis by the Leadership Council, include Concordia Use Cases, eGovernment, Federated Identity Model Agreement & Commentary (FIMAC), Health Identity and Assurance, Identity Assurance and Accreditation, Identity Provider Selection, Identity Theft Prevention, ID-WSF Evolution (OAuth Extensions), Japan, Multi-Protocol Identity Selector, Multi-Protocol Relying Party Deployment, Privacy and Public Policy, Telecommunications Identity, User Driven Information Technology and Volunteered Personal Information (VPI). A list of all of the groups in progress is available at http://kantarainitiative.org/wordpress/?page_id=6

"It's clear that Kantara Initiative brings together the right mix of collaborators to help shepherd the next generation of identity solutions. Specifically, our goal is to facilitate the development of solutions that are interoperable, secure and privacy-respecting. And importantly, the work is being done in an open and transparent fashion," said Adams. "Collaboration between identity communities and initiatives within Kantara Initiative will lead to more trusted identity-enabled applications and services. This fits squarely into the Internet Society vision of an Internet Ecosystem where the continued development and adoption of Internet technologies includes a broad range of participants with dispersed ownership and control."

About Kantara Initiative Kantara Initiative has been formed by Concordia Project, DataPortablity Project, Information Card Foundation, Internet Society, Liberty Alliance, OpenLiberty.org and XDI.org. The Kantara Initiative membership structure is unique in that it has been organized to ensure that there are zero barriers to participation. Membership levels allow for maximum industry-wide participation and include Participant, Member and Trustee categories, which individuals and organizations join depending on the size of the organization and type of desired participation. The Kantara Initiative membership structure, levels, fees and governance model are outlined at http://kantarainitiative.org/wordpress/?page_id=8 . A complete membership and chair list is available at http://kantarainitiative.org/confluence/display/GI/Current+Members.

About the June 24 Kantara Initiative Public Webcast Hosted by Brett McDowell, executive director, Kantara Initiative, Roger Sullivan and J.Trent Adams, the public webcast, Kantara Initiative, Shaping the Future of Digital Identity, takes place on Wednesday, June, 24 at 8:00am US PT. The one-hour event will provide participants with an overview of Kantara Initiative including a review of goals, structure and opportunities for all members of the global identity community to participate in the organization. Registration and more information is available at http://tinyurl.com/nsw3n5

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