OpenStand, the IoT and Connected Life: Kantara Initiative

Posted on November 19th, 2014

As the Internet of Things (IoT) bridges the gap between our virtual and digital worlds, personal data and security becomes a challenge. By leveraging the OpenStand Principles, Kantara members seek to leverage open standards to develop verifiable trusted solutions that respect users, serve society, and grow markets.

The Intersection of Things and Identity

As modern ICT infrastructure, networked devices and sensors combine to form the framework for the Internet of Things (IoT), the vital lifeblood that flows through IoT is personal and object-related data. The secure, precise and reliable management of the data shared between connected machines, objects and humans is critical to the future.  It is only when the proper data, identity, security and privacy frameworks are established that the true and positive potential of a technology-enabled, connected life for global citizens can be realized.

The IoT promises to bridge the gap between our virtual and digital worlds, creating a seamless connected experience for people. However, the quality of this future, “connected life” depends on our ability to develop new and improved, innovative and trust-based personal identity management solutions.  The complexities of Identity Management practices and solution limitations make it challenging for global inter-disciplinary communities to harmonize their identity and security practices and policies, online and offline.

The technology services and frameworks that connect businesses, consumers, governments and people are rapidly evolving.  Early Identity Management (IdM) technology services focused on security and access management – typically within organizational or national perimeters. However, the scope of these solutions is limited when taken into consideration against the increasingly complex and borderless nature of modern data sharing practices.

Personal Data and Security

As technology enables and expands our reach, we find ourselves challenged to comprehend the security and privacy implications of our modern human interactions.  The amount of personal data being generated has exponentially increased, fueled by the proliferation, adoption, and use of mobile, wearable, and sensor-enabled devices.  These technologies gather sensitive personal data that can be highly useful and beneficial to individuals and enterprises alike.  However, when put into the wrong hands, the same data may also be used for harm.

For example, today, many wearable devices are equipped with sensors that can record an individual’s physical activity, from the number of steps taken to sleep quality, diet patterns, heart rate, blood sugar levels and more. When combined with other recorded data (E.g. time/date, geo-locational information) and transmitted, via networked connections that employ different levels of security, our personal data can power apps, drive social media updates and be readily shared with other people or entities for a variety of purposes.

From a positive perspective, this data can help individuals manage and improve their physical health, be readily shared with partners and caregivers, be utilized in aggregate to support medical research and leveraged in other beneficial ways.  Unfortunately, our personal data may also be used in ways that are less obvious and/or desirable. On the down side, personal data can be intercepted by others, leveraged or sold to advertisers or used algorithmically to identify behavioral patterns that may impact an individual in an unforeseen manner, such as being leveraged by an insurance company to justify a policy rate increase.

Without question, the global need for comprehensive systems that enable the management and governance of personal data and identity systems presents a new frontier for ideation and innovation.  Varying national and industry practices exist today with regard to data management, privacy and security.  However, as our devices, apps and connections proliferate; as our data is shared in unforeseen ways; and as we attempt to realize the promises of IoT and new technology, a harmonized, proactive approach for the comprehensive management of our personal data, identity and privacy is a critical necessity.

Developing Trust-Based Services

To help improve and accelerate adoption of relationship-based digital identity solutions that support and simplify our connected lives, Kantara Initiative is running two parallel activities:

The Identities of Things Discussion Group (IDoT) is working to map and more fully understand the landscape (players, activities, solutions, trends, etc.) that stand at the intersection of Identity management and IoT.  The group’s goal is to deliver recommendations for the development and adoption of best practices, and to conduct a gap analysis that will help inform communities about collaboration opportunities that support interoperability within specific areas of interest.

The Identity Relationship Management (IRM) Working Group is researching, analyzing and developing best practices (and may potentially recommend future standards development activities) related to the varying global technical and policy frameworks that currently govern the connections between humans, entities, and devices. In the near term, this group will deliver a report that explores the “Laws of Relationships – A Work in Progress.”

Participation in both groups is open to anyone. Additional information can be found here.

When Kantara members have secured a more complete picture of the identity and IoT landscape, along with the associated implications related to security, privacy and technology interoperability, collective focus will shift.  In the next phase, members will focus on working collaboratively, openly and transparently developing programs and solutions to drive innovation in the global Identity Management space. Ultimately, Kantara Initiative seeks to establish a trust-driven foundation comprised of identity services that streamline and support a globally connected society, while respecting individual rights and privileges, and enabling companies, industries, government and civil service organizations to better serve people through advanced, interoperable technologies.

Kantara and OpenStand

Kantara Initiative is a signatory for the OpenStand Principles, and embraces an open, transparent, multi-stakeholder community.  Kantara members include technology and policy professionals from industry, research, academia governments, civil society, and more.

The adoption of the OpenStand Principles will help drive the open development of a transparent, accessible environment that supports innovation, technology development, and deployment for the benefit of humanity. By leveraging the OpenStand Principles, Kantara members seek to leverage open standards to develop verifiable trusted solutions that respect users, serve society, and grow markets.

For more information on how to get involved, please click here.


Joni Brennan is a contributing advocate and is the Executive Director for the Kantara Initiative

Contributing Advocate
Joni Brennan,
Executive Director, Kantara Initiative

About Kantara Initiative
The Kantara Initiative is a non-profit organization that helps accelerate the identity services market by developing innovations and programs to support trusted on-line transactions. The organization is dedicated to identify, and develop innovative and “trust-based” solutions that support the Connected Life. By definition, trust-based solutions leverage open standards, enable proportional data sharing in a manner that respects users, and apply verifiable best practices. Kantara Members are working to openly assess, innovate and develop programs that will help ensure a more safe, seamless and streamlined connected experience.


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How the Open Document Format (ODF) Standard Simplifies Document Sharing and Collaboration

Posted on November 12th, 2014



Electronic document sharing and collaboration can be a problematic activity today. File compatibility, formatting, version control and editing become a potential headache for anyone trying to collaboratively share documents. For example, a research paper might look fine in Apple’s Pages, but it may fail to open or display properly in Microsoft’s Word. Or a document created in Microsoft Excel can be difficult to open if the recipient is using Sheets by Google Drive. A viable solution to this problem is to utilize an open standard format.

According to Eric C. McCreath and Robert Edwards of Business IT, “The way forward to avoid any compatibility issues is open standard formats that any person or organisation can develop office applications for, whether these are Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) applications or proprietary ones. This levels the playing field and makes sharing office documents easier and less expensive.”

One open standard that is gaining recognition is the Open Document Format (ODF) which was introduced by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). OASIS is a not-for-profit global consortium, that endorses the open adoption of e-business standards.  OASIS key players include SunMicrosystems (now with Oracle) and IBM.  ODF documents can be recognized by their filename extensions, which include:

  • .odt and .fodt for word processing

  • .ods and .fods for spreadsheets

  • .odp and .fodp for presentations

  • .odg and .fodg for graphics

There are a variety of benefits associated with using ODF.  First, ODF has been approved by both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commision (IEC) as an international standard for office software. Second, the ODF format can be easily integrated with the following office software applications:

  • StarOffice

  • Microsoft Office since 2008

  • LibreOffice

  • Google Docs

*Note: Conflicting information is available on ODF integration with Google Docs.  While the original article indicates support, along with Wikipedia,  this article says “NO”, and this support thread indicates there is some integration.text

This means that any document that has been created as an ODF in any of these applications can be shared and opened in any other application and it will appear and act just as the owner intended it to. The ODF specification is available at no cost from OASIS, so it can be read and implemented for free.

As mentioned earlier, various international governments and organizations have adopted ODF as their format for creating and sharing documents. The UK’s adoption of ODF and the Australian government’s work towards using ODF can provide helpful insight into the benefits of ODF.

Do you think we will see a movement of more governments and international organizations moving towards ODF? What do you think the benefits will be? Is there a downside to using ODF? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Interview with OpenStand Advocate Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet Turns 25

Posted on November 5th, 2014

From the beginning, the Internet was built on a set of open development principles, that are now recognized as the OpenStand Principles. As the Internet turns 25 this year, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, sat down to reflect back on the first days of its existence. In the below video, he discusses how far web information has come, and how much more ground there is left to cover.

Video highlights:

  • From an early age, Berners-Lee understood the difference between looking at systems from both a microscopic level and a macroscopic level. This difference played a critical role in the development of the Internet. He not only took into consideration how the it would function, by sending information from one computer to another, but how the entire system would scale and interconnect.
  • Growing up, Berners-Lee’s parents were involved in the growth of computer programming and told him that what you do with a computer is only limited by your imagination. Berners-Lee highlighted this as the challenge for today: To keep imagining and creating. The challenge didn’t end with the creation of the Internet; it has only just begun. The framework built by Berners-Lee laid the foundation for layers and layers of applications and use cases.
  • The early creators of the Internet were not out to turn the work into a dedicated career. They programmed out of their garages and basements in their spare time because they believed in the mission and the product. Berners-Lee said that if patents had been involved in the building of the Internet, nothing would have gotten accomplished because the innovators would have not have had open access to what their peers were working on, and therefore, would not have been able to build off of it. The Internet was built on the idea that access to information should be royalty free and open — and should remain that way.
  • Berners-Lee shares his thoughts about access to the Internet and notes that information is being discussed on a global scale in countries whose governments censor information. Berners-Lee remarks that ending censorship will not be an overnight process, but he can see progress that has been made to remove barriers to information exchange, as governments realize that access to information for all can greatly benefit their economy.

OpenStand is honored to carry the open development torch from Tim Berners-Lee, as well as with the W3C as an Affirming Partner of the OpenStand Principles. The Internet has seen exponential growth in the past 25 years and, as it is kept open, can only continue to grow for the benefit of humanity.

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The Heroes of the Internet Believed in Open Standards

Posted on October 29th, 2014

Recently, Computer Weekly highlighted five heroes of the web. Below is a compilation of these heroes and significant moments, considered the most influential people and breakthroughs in the development of the Internet as we know it today.

  1. Tim Berners-Lee
Source: Georgia Oetker

In the early 1990’s document access systems were closed, proprietary and single-user in nature. Tim Berners-Lee, a developer at CERN and inventor of the World Wide Web, sought a better, fundamentally open way for research communities to find and share information,  Berners-Lee developed the HTTP and HTML protocols as well as a browser he offered freely for users to access the early Internet.  On 6 August, 1991, he invited anyone to download his invention. In a newsgroup posting he wrote:

“The WWW model gets over the frustrating incompatibilities of data format between suppliers and reader by allowing negotiation of format between a smart browser and a smart server. Try it.”

Today, the protocols developed by Berners-Lee, and many other internet protocols developed by the World Wide Web Consortium under Berners-Lee, serve as the foundation for the Web as we know it.   Without the open capabilities Berners-Lee created, it is unlikely the web would have evolved beyond anything other than an interesting, but vaguely understood idea.

  1.  Doug Engelbart and Company
Source: Computer Weekly

Doug Engelbart and a group from Augmented Human Intellect (AHI) Research Center at Stanford Research Institute gave a demonstration on how IT would change the way people work. The 90 minute demo to 1,000 computer professional was the first public showing of a mouse, hypertext linking.  This significantly shaped the concept of personal computing.

3.  Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn


Source: Computer Weekly

Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and Robert Khan, Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) are both considered “Fathers of the Internet”.  In the early 1980’s the two designed the standard networking protocol, TCP/IP, which made it possible for people to download the source code for web browser software developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN.  Today TCP/IP continues to enable modern networking and communication.

  1. NeXT Cube: The Unix workstation that ran the first WWW
Source: Computer Weekly

Tim Berners-Lee initially traveled with this machine to demonstrate what the web looked like. It was able to run across CERN’s internal networks. CERN later connected the server to its TCP/IP network, which allowed the web to be accessed everywhere using the TCP/IP protocol. The first web page was launched at CERN on 20 December 1990.

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OpenStand’s Two Year Anniversary: A Look Back and a Look Forward

Posted on October 22nd, 2014

OpenStand recognizes the support of OpenStand partners and advocates in the wake of its two year anniversary

In the wake of OpenStand’s two year anniversary, we’d like to take a moment to recognize the support of OpenStand partners and advocates. The goal of OpenStand remains simple: to mobilize ongoing, global support for the application of open, market-driven principles in technology and standards development, and keep development open to a worldwide community of innovators.

Here are a few highlights from our affirming partners:

“As Chair of the IETF when OpenStand was announced, and Chair of the IAB today, I believe also that these principles are fundamental to the Internet’s future success—and that they establish a broader paradigm for standards covering many topics that are fundamental to a thriving global economy and the social wellbeing. The role of standards development organizations is often hidden in everyday life, but the impact of standards is felt by billions of people everyday.”

- Russ Housley, IAB Chair for the IETF blog.

“Looking at the benefits infographicI observe that some, or even most, benefits are generic and apply to the other standards development paradigms as well. But the OpenStand paradigm results in a unique combination of benefits. OpenStand makes explicit what most of us know: The success of the Internet is dependent upon the way it has been developed. In the Internet Society’s “Internet Invariants” paper, this is explained as: “The Internet requires some basic agreements and social behaviour – between technologies and between humans,” after which the paper enumerates “interoperability and mutual agreement,” “collaboration,” and “reusable [technology] building blocks.” All these resonate with the OpenStand principles. The final invariant, “There are no permanent favorites,” is embedded in the voluntary OpenStand principle.

- Mr. Olaf Kolkman, Chief Internet Technology Officer for ISOC for the ISOC blog.

“We would like to encourage governments around the world to refer to and adopt the OpenStand principles, for that harmonization will create positive network effects in the global IT market.”

-Daniel Dardailler, Associate Chair for Europe and Director of International Relations
for W3c for the W3C blog.

We would also like to stand the community of OpenStand advocates for their tremendous support and participation.  The global participation on our survey reflects the nature and scope of the OpenStand Principles. You can view the results of our survey here.

As OpenStand moves forward with the support of the community and Partners. It is our hope that OpenStand values will form the bedrock for future technology innovation. As the world seeks to solve modern collaboration, standardization, security and privacy challenges, applying the OpenStand Principles will play an essential role in securing the future of open, inclusive, market-driven innovation.

Thank you once again for standing with us.

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W3C at 20: Expanding with OpenStand in Mind

Posted on October 17th, 2014

I joined the W3C staff in 1997 as a technical writer. My first assignment was to work on the W3C Process Document, which describes how W3C turns ideas into standards. My understanding of what happened before I arrived is that W3C Members had begun in 1996 to demand a more formal description of how the organization would work. A committee was formed to draw up the document. I began to edit it mid-1997, and, we adopted the first Process Document for W3C on 11 November 1999.

The principles that we would later formalize with our peers as OpenStand Principles were apparent even in our first process document. Here are a few examples:

  • Consensus: Declared “Integral to the W3C process” right from the start.
  • Transparency: The process required public versions of documents at least every three months. This requirement was put in place because in the early days many W3C Working Groups did not conduct their discussions on public mailing lists. Today groups conduct their technical discussions in public.
  • Availability: All formal publications from draft to standard have always been publicly available at no cost.

I remained editor through the 2005 revision, which remained the operative W3C process for 9 years until we (finally!) replaced it in August 2014.

The Process Document is an important manifestation of our organizational vision. For 20 years, W3C has sought to create an environment where competitors collaborate with respect and due process. We have stumbled at times, but as a result have become more transparent, inclusive, and effective, essentially growing into the OpenStand principles (see our 2012 self-evaluation). We are actively expanding and evolving today, keeping OpenStand principles in mind as we go, as CEO Jeff Jaffe did this week in a blog post, Decision by consensus or by informed editor; which is better?

We will mark W3C’s 20th anniversary on 29 October with a Symposium and Gala Dinner in Santa Clara, California. Please join us as we discuss the future of the organization, as well as the future of the Web.




This blog post was written by Ian Jacobs. He is the Head of W3C Marketing and Communications. He has a background in software engineering, spent 7 years writing Web standards at W3C, and has been in his current role for 10 years.

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Infographic: Finding Open Standards in Digital Life

Posted on October 9th, 2014

Every day, online and offline, open standards benefit humanity.  In our modern world, posting blog content, searching the web and sending/receiving mail has become second nature – and many of the underpinning technologies that support these tasks leverage open standards.

To illustrate how this works in her life, Anna, the Community Manager at phpList, created the infographic below in celebration of 2014 Document Freedom Day.  Says Anna,  “Basically every task I do as phpList Community Manager uses Open Standards of some kind. Writing this blog, for example, used http, ip, www and html to name just a few. Also, while I write I am using IRC and xmpp to talk with my phpList friends and colleagues. A sizable portion of my day is spent replying to emails, which uses a whole host of Open Protocols, ranging from openPGP to imap and smtp.”


She continues, “Open Standards really are vital to our ability to work together on-line, without them we could not communicate or collaborate…so my life would be a colossal bore!”

Anna’s infographic provides a simple illustration of how open standards have improved the way she lives, works and communicates.  In truth, every day — online and offline — open standards improve life for people around the world and play an essential role as building blocks for technology innovation and economic growth.

While we don’t know if Anna is an OpenStand supporter, we like the insights she provides here and thought we’d share. You can view her full post, here.

OpenStand celebrates the contributions of the open developments community and advocates for a set of proven OpenStand Principles to drive standards and technology development.  We hope you’ll Stand With Us as an advocate for an open future.

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SVG: The Open Standards of Graphic Design

Posted on October 1st, 2014

A snippet of SVG code generated in Inkscape.
A snippet of SVG code generated in Inkscape.

OpenStand principles are applied to applications everyday.  One example of this can be seen in a commonly used standard file format used by the print and digital design community, known as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).  A member of the Libre Graphics Magazine community recently highlighted SVG as one of their favorite open standards because they use it on a daily basis for design.

SVG is an XML-based format for vector graphics, developed by the W3C. As an open standard, anyone can develop software and programs that include and build off of SVG files. In its current form, the open standard of SVG 1.1 defines a language, and ultimately a format, with a diverse set of capabilities. It includes common features, like vector shapes, paths and text rendering; and features not commonly known, like animation and interactivity.

SVG is a standard that aligns to the Principles of OpenStand on several levels.  SVG is open, it adheres to the principles of standards development,  it is collectively empowered, broadly available and people can leverage SVG voluntarily.

SVG isn’t a standard created by W3C employees — the volunteer committee working on the SVG standard is comprised of professionals from a diverse array of global participants.  Some  work for companies with an interest in SVG, while others are simply involved members of the public.  Having diverse interests represented, and global participation from people with different knowledge, cultures, thought processes enriches the development process and helps ensure that no single entity or interest dominates the standards development process.

SVG is also a product that can be used voluntarily by anyone, and built upon by anyone.  As a result, rather than investing time in a closed, proprietary standard with limited access, participants end up developing an open, freely available standard that can benefit everyone, and upon which anyone can innovate.

Part of the beauty open standards is that they never have to die:  their specifications will always be available, and can continue to improve over time, because they are not tied to a specific company or program.  They will continue to exist long as they are relevant and address market needs.

You can read more on Libre Graphics Magazine Series highlighting SVG as an open standard here. 

Posted in News

Open Standards and APIs used in International Aid Organizations

Posted on September 24th, 2014

Many humanitarian organizations, from The World Bank to the International Aid Transparency Initiative, have integrated principles of open information into their mission and efforts. They believe that an investment in better, open information is an investment in better, open development.The World Bank works to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in the developing world. Open development is about making information and data freely available and searchable, encouraging feedback, information-sharing, and accountability. The World Bank is also working to make their data, knowledge and research more open, to foster innovation and increase transparency in development, aid flows and finances.

The World Bank currently has three different APIs that enable access to different datasets: one for Indicators (or time series data), one for Projects (or data on the World Bank’s operations), and one for the World Bank financial data (World Bank Finances API). All three APIs implement RESTful interfaces to allow users to perform queries of available data using selection parameters. The World Bank Indicators API lets users programmatically access more than 8,000 indicators and query the data in several ways, using defined parameters to narrow searches and requests.

Similar to The World Bank, is a web-based information service about Swedish aid built on open government data. They are working to combat poverty and understand that a key part of their success lies in open and transparent access to information and collaboration with others on ideas. They guarantee that public documents and public information about Swedish aid is made available on the web in both Swedish and English. The hub for statistics and documents about Swedish development cooperation will soon be moving to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard API.

The IATI makes information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand. IATI Standard is the accompanying technical publishing framework allowing data to be compared. One of the standards in place is the IATI codelists, Numerical codes are used to represent many standard values in an IATI data file, which ensure the information is comparable among different publishers.

The IATI APIs include the IATI Datastore, online service that gathers all data published to the IATI standard into a single queryable source; OIPA, used for parsing, ingesting, storing and searching IATI standard compliant datasets; and AidData, which allows for programmatic access to the catalogue of AidData information.

Challenges of the IATI APIs and other international aid open information sources include timely and forward looking data, data quality, access and use of data, and governance.  For more information on open standards and APIs used to improve public service delivery in the developing world, check out this Slideshare.

The author, Pernilla Näsfors, is a Development Data Specialist at the World Bank, helping recipients of aid to open and standardize the data in their country systems. At the Nordic APIs Stockholm conference on March 31, 2014, Näsfors shared her experiences working with other international aid donors and local governments at the World Bank, as well as insights from her previous job as the product manager of the website at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), one of the first Swedish government websites with an open API.


Posted in News

How to Become an OpenStand Advocate

Posted on September 12th, 2014


OpenStand was formed to align standards development organizations and the open development community itself with a time-tested set of principles or values for open, collaborative, market-driven technology development.  It is our hope that our supporters will carry those values into every-day life and apply them to collaboration, consensus-building, development, policy making, technology development and public awareness efforts.  Here’s how you can become an OpenStand Advocate.

  • Sign Your Name on our public registry, as show of your private or corporate support
  • Become personally active:
    • Embody the principles in a personal/professional capacity
    • Become informed on key areas of national/international debate and policy making that impact the future of open technology development
    • Help ensure OpenStand Principles are applied and leveraged in public debate, development, and policy making
    • Help others understand the critical role OpenStand Principles have in innovation and the future of technology development
    • Encourage your organization to support OpenStand

If you represent an organization is a Standards Development Organization (SDO), and you’d like to jointly affirm the OpenStand principles for your organization, please contact us.

If your organization is not an SDO, and you would like to submit a public endorsement on behalf of your organization (company, firm, institution, etc.) for OpenStand, please contact us.

Thank you for your support of OpenStand!

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