Why Trustmarks Matter: NSTIC Looks Back on IDESG Plenary

The Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) was created in support of NSTIC’s vision of a secure cyberspace. Independent of the Federal Government, but sharing the same goals for a secure Identity Ecosystem, IDESG is being led by the private sector as an active participant in the world of trust and technology.

The IDESG held its seventh plenary wide meeting on January 14th this year, collecting more than 200 real life and virtual attendees in order to face a challenge for the year to come. In the opening keynote, a senior White House official challenged the organization with a year end goal: to develop a trustmark scheme, backed by high profile early investors, by the end of 2014.

Today, on the NSTIC blog, we’ve been given a full rundown of how the event went and where trustmarks stand on the value spectrum as the IDESG keeps its foot on the gas (a mantra of the plenary), heading full speed towards its important goal. The post touches on three major areas, including the aforementioned challenge from the White House, as well as an update on the NSTIC pilots and, most interestingly: the current state of trustmarks.

According to NSTIC, a constant obstacle that the pilots have been encountering is that replying parties are simply not willing to engage in the branding practices required by the currently available federated identity solutions. Apparently, even when the IT and identity admins from potential participating companies have been eager to get on board with the Identity Ecosystem train, they have found themselves blocked by a marketing team or branding policy that will simply not allow the logo of another company on the relying party website.

In this respect, companies and organizations involved in IDESG will be looking to develop a company neutral brand for trustmarks. Internet2 has already put forward some interesting ideas in this respect, recently proposing a periodic table of trust compounds that seems novel, creative and popular.

Speaking towards the state of the NSTIC pilots, of which there are 12 that are currently active, the recap cites their targeting of the issue described above and other similarly “hairy policy issues” as evidence that they are driving the conversation forward. This active role is an interesting and important one as the industries surrounding trust move further into a year that’s already seen take a focus on identity in both government and mainstream commercial sectors.

In the end, given the positive encouragement that has been derived from the current state of the pilots and trustmark initiatives, NSTIC posits that although the White House’s challenge is not going to be easily achieved, it is still within reach. Over the next few months the IDESG priority is going to be in reconciling the different approaches to implementing a basic trustmark scheme in time for the next plenary in April, to be held in Silicon Valley.