[Privsec] fwd: [governance] Proposed theme: user centric digital identity

Ralf Bendrath bendrath at zedat.fu-berlin.de
Tue Mar 21 17:16:07 GMT 2006

And now Garth has developed this into a full theme proposal for the IGF. 
Very nice. We should support it.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [governance] Proposed theme: user centric digital identity
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 08:42:37 -0800
From: Garth Graham <garth.graham at telus.net>
To: governance <governance at lists.cpsr.org>

ISSUE: User centric digital identity

a.  A concise formulation for the proposed theme

How can the IGF assist in finding the support that is needed both for
new systems of digital identity that center identity around the user
and for open public participation in their design and application?

b.  A brief description of why it is important

The issue of how participation in an  online world changes our
personal need to control the expression of identity is as close as
anything  to the heart of comprehending Internet Governance in the
context of a transition to an Information Society.   As the online
world moves towards “Web 2.0,” the concept of digital  identity is
evolving and existing identity systems are faltering. New systems are
emerging that center identity around the user.  This is an issue
where civil society voices with experience from within the
Information Society need to be visible taking a strong advocacy
role.  They need to do this precisely because the issue clarifies the
benefits of daily life online in a particular way.  We will  trust
that the structures of an Information society are fair  only when it
is clear in right, and in law and in code that we are the owners of
all of the forms for the digital expression of ourselves.

c.  How it is in conformity with the Tunis Agenda  in terms of
*substance*, particularly in reference to para. 34 to 54;

It can be argued that the issue of digital identity is interesting
precisely because it is largely unanticipated by the Tunis agenda,
except weakly as follows:

39. We seek to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs by
strengthening the trust framework.

43. We reiterate our commitments to the positive uses of the Internet
and other ICTs

56. The Internet remains a highly dynamic medium and therefore any
framework and mechanisms designed to deal with Internet governance
should be inclusive and responsive to the exponential growth and fast
evolution of the Internet as a common platform for the development of
multiple applications.

58.  We recognize that Internet governance includes more than
Internet naming and addressing. It also includes other significant
public policy issues such as, inter alia, …….  issues pertaining to
the use of the Internet.

In that the Tunis agenda on IG assumes a framework  of actors based
in government, private sector and civil society, it is not an agenda
centered on the individual user.  Although the Tunis agenda makes
reference to “cross cutting”  issues, it might be more useful to see
that the issue of digital  identity, rather than cross cutting, is in
fact  on a dimension of  Information Society unity and benefit that
is orthogonal to the WSIS dimension of Internet problems.

d.  How it fits within the mandate of the IGF as detailed in para 72;

As per 72 (a,g,j,k), Digital Identity is an emerging critical
resource issue in the development of the Internet that is of
particular concern to everyday users.

a) Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet
governance in order to
foster the ….. development of the Internet.

g) Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the
relevant bodies and the
general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations.

j) Discuss, inter alia, issues relating to critical Internet resources.

k) Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and
misuse of the Internet, of
particular concern to everyday users.

e.  Who the main actors in the field are, who could be encouraged to
participate in the Forum and its thematic sessions.

There is a great deal of work currently being done on trust, privacy
and identity management infrastructures, but largely without a WSIS/
IG cross-over or public participation. The following list is
illustrative, not definitive:

SXIP Identity
SAML 2.0
Identity Metasystem “InfoCards”
Higgins Trust Framework Project
Planet Identity
Identity Commons
Digital ID World
The Yadis Project

f.  Why should this issue should be addressed in the first annual
meeting of the Forum rather  than in subsequent ones.

Digital Identity is an issue that can serve to reorient the IGF
towards thinking more long term about the Internet’s role in the
future development of an Information Society, rather than dwelling
completely on current issues understood negatively as problems.

Garth Graham
Telecommunities Canada

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