19 January 2011
Sure, we’ve gotten donations and put on successful events, but for the first time in Open Forum history, we’ve received a grant for work we’re about to do!! It’s pretty exciting, and with any luck, the first of many such announcements this year.
So here’s the gist: There’s a nonprofit called the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) that was created to act as a trust framework provider for a trust framework developed by the federal government to enable citizens to engage with the government more easily.
What does that mean? A trust framework is a set of rules and regulations for an industry. Anyone who wants to play a part in the system has to follow the rules. In this context, the trust framework sets out rules for companies to act as identity providers, so that the federal government doesn’t have to manage passwords and authentication and all of that complexity. OIX’s role is to audit and ensure that everyone is following the rules. For more information, check out the explanations on their website.
Why are they giving us money? OIX is the first organisation created solely to act as a trust framework provider in the identity space. Since they are strong believers in this type of market-oriented solution, they have several active working groups developing other trust frameworks that they could then operate as well [see here for that list]. I met Don Thibeau, the Chairman of their Board of Directors at various Internet Identity Workshop events over the last year, and he was kind enough to attend the Workshop: Online Constituent Identity that we put on in early November.
At that event, we effectively established the foundation for a trust framework that would enable online constituent identity through a distributed system. The goal of this would be to increase trust in online dialogue between citizens and their elected officials.
Don rightfully proposed that for this to come to fruition, we needed a larger base of people to work from. We agreed that the next step in solving this problem was to develop a list of everyone that may be interested in participating, reach out to them to gauge their interest, and then develop a roadmap looking forward based on the results of this survey. So, that’s what we’re doing in return for a $5000 grant.
The exciting part about this is that this outreach project will most likely result in not only a larger base of actors with which to develop the trust framework, but also the identification of organizations that will fund the next stage in the process.