Musings on Digital Identity

Month: May 2023

Lifetime Achievement Award at EIC 2023

EIC 2023 LogoI was surprised and deeply honored to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Kuppinger Cole at EIC 2023. As I recalled when accepting the award, when Kim Cameron received the same award about a decade ago, he said from the podium “No, don’t do this! My career isn’t over! I’m not done contributing!” Kim always had a wicked wit. ;-)

Coincidentally, I described some of the achievements that led to the award during my keynote Touchstones Along My Identity Journey. After a couple of times of me saying “We won an award for that” during the keynote, I was amused that the audience would break out into laughter each subsequent time that I mentioned another award. Like this award, the audience’s reaction was unexpected and delightful.

EIC 2023 Lifetime Award

Smiling with EIC 2023 Lifetime Award

EIC 2023 Lifetime Award with Martin Kuppinger

EIC 2023 Awards with Rachelle Sellung

Touchstones Along My Identity Journey

EIC 2023 LogoI had the distinct honor of being invited to give a keynote talk at EIC 2023. The result was Touchstones Along My Identity Journey. My talk abstract was:

In 2005, Kim Cameron excitedly told me about digital identity and set my life on a course to “Build the Internet’s missing identity layer”. In this talk I’ll tell key stories from my identity journey — stories of the people, ideas, and lessons learned along the way. I’ll speak of technology and collaboration, usability and business models, solving problems people actually have, and building new ecosystems. Come with me on this journey of exploration, trials, triumphs, and humor as I recount touchstones of the human endeavor that is digital identity.

Kuppinger Cole has posted a video of my keynote on YouTube. I was pleased with how well it went. After the first few sentences, I was in the zone! I hope many of you find the messages in the talk useful.

My slides are also available in (PowerPoint) and PDF.

Special thanks go to the OpenID Foundation for supporting my trip to EIC this year and to designer Alistair Kincaid at MATTR for helping me transcend my usual black-bulleted-text-on-a-white-background presentation style!

EIC 2023 Keynote Photo

EIC 2023 Keynote Photo with Kim Cameron

EIC 2023 Keynote Photo for OAuth

Current Work and Future Trends in Selective Disclosure

EIC 2023 LogoThe session Current Work and Future Trends in Selective Disclosure at EIC 2023 covered a lot of foundational work happening in the space of Selective Disclosure right now. Selective Disclosure enables you to have a token with many claims (say, an ISO Mobile Drivers’ License (mDL)), and only release the claims necessary for the interaction — for instance, your birthdate but not your home address. Selective Disclosure enables Minimal Disclosure. This is sometimes realized using Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs) but that’s not always necessary.

The agenda for the session was:

Our presentations are available in (PowerPoint) and PDF.

EIC 2023 Disclosure Issuer Holder Verifier Model

How do you know who to trust?

EIC 2023 LogoGiuseppe De Marco and I presented the session How do you know who to trust? at EIC 2023.

A key question when granting access to resources is ‘Who do you trust?’. It’s often important to know who the party is that you’re interacting with and whether they’ve agreed to the terms and conditions that apply when accessing a resource.

OpenID Connect enables identities of participants to be securely established but doesn’t answer the question of whether a participant is trusted to access a resource such as your personal data. A complementary mechanism is needed to do that. In small-scale and static deployments, it’s possible to keep a list of the trusted participants. However, in large-scale and dynamic deployments, that doesn’t scale.

This presentation described how the OpenID Connect Federation protocol enables scalable trust establishment with dynamic policies. It does so by employing trust hierarchies of authorities, each of which are independently administered. Examples of authorities are federation operators, organizations, departments within organizations, and individual sites.

Two OpenID Connect Federations are deployed in Italy, enabling secure access to digital services operated by Italian public and private services with Italian digital identities. This presentation described why OpenID Connect Federation was selected for them and how it meets their needs. OpenID Connect Federation is also being used by the GAIN PoC.

Our presentation is available in (PowerPoint) and PDF.

EIC 2023 Federation Photo

Initial Reanimiated JOSE Working Group Specifications Published

IETF logoFollowing a call for adoption by the restarted JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE) Working Group, I’m pleased to report that the three initial working group specifications have been published. They are:

JSON Web Proof, with abstract:

This document defines a new container format similar in purpose and design to JSON Web Signature (JWS) called a JSON Web Proof (JWP). Unlike JWS, which integrity-protects only a single payload, JWP can integrity-protect multiple payloads in one message. It also specifies a new presentation form that supports selective disclosure of individual payloads, enables additional proof computation, and adds a protected header to prevent replay and support binding mechanisms.

JSON Proof Algorithms, with abstract:

The JSON Proof Algorithms (JPA) specification registers cryptographic algorithms and identifiers to be used with the JSON Web Proof (JWP) and JSON Web Key (JWK) specifications. It defines several IANA registries for these identifiers.

JSON Proof Token, with abstract:

JSON Proof Token (JPT) is a compact, URL-safe, privacy-preserving representation of claims to be transferred between three parties. The claims in a JPT are encoded as base64url-encoded JSON objects that are used as the payloads of a JSON Web Proof (JWP) structure, enabling them to be digitally signed and selectively disclosed. JPTs also support reusability and unlinkability when using Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs).

Thanks to Jeremie Miller and David Waite for helping us get there!

OAuth DPoP specification is in the hands of the RFC Editor

OAuth logoThe OAuth 2.0 Demonstrating Proof-of-Possession at the Application Layer (DPoP) specification was approved by the IESG and is now in the hands of the RFC Editor in preparation for publication as an RFC. In a related development, the multiple IANA registrations requested by the specification are already in place.

As Vittorio Bertocci wrote, “One of the specs with the highest potential for (positive) impact in recent years.” I couldn’t agree more!

The latest version of the specification is available at:

Implement and deploy early and often!

First Public Working Draft of Securing Verifiable Credentials using JSON Web Tokens

W3C logoThe First Public Working Draft (FPWD) of the Securing Verifiable Credentials using JSON Web Tokens (VC-JWT) specification has been published. The FPWD milestone is described in the W3C Process document. This draft is another step on the way to a Native JWT Representation for Verifiable Credentials.

Please review the First Public Working Draft of VC-JWT. Thanks especially to Orie Steele for making this happen!

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