NSTIC Response by Identity Woman

Context for my response to the NSTIC Governance NOI

Table of Contents to Blog Posts of My Response

My Complete Response in PDF form Kaliya-NSTIC-NOI

Introductory Letter of the Response.

Context for my NSTIC NOI response

I surprised myself when writing my response to the NSTIC (National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace)  Governance NOI (Notice of Inquiry).  I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to say because the questions seemed like they were way ahead of where they should be interms of where things were.  I decided to begin by sharing important Context, Frames and Terms that were important before getting to the Questions of Governance and what should be done now.

I began with the word Ecosystem – what it meant and that a system was at the heart of this strategy not something simple or easily actionable.

I touched on the history of the Identity Community and how much conversation and intensive dialogue happened amongst that early community to get to a place where collaboration was natural and “easy”. A huge amount of effort went into developing shared language and understanding then and this is needed once again.  The range of self identified stakeholders for NSTIC is quite large (the range of not self identified stakeholders it could be said is everyone on the planet or at least all those with a digital connection (via phone or interent).

I put forward two different methods/tools/processes that could be used to form shared language and understanding across this stakeholder community Polarity Management and Value Network Mapping.

I suggest that the governance structure proposed a “steering group” actually have a mandate to regularly listen to and act on the recommendations of the system that are generated via 3 different well established dialogic processes (Creative Insight Council, World Cafe and Open Space Technology [What we use at IIW]. I then answer the NOI questions referencing the ideas above.

I am going to be posting the whole of my Response in a series of posts and linking them all from there.

I began with one earlier last week which is focused on “trust” both as an emergent property of the overall system AND as the current name of technology and policy/legal frameworks for identity creation.

Links to NSTIC Response Posts:

Here is the my opening to my response:

Dear Patrick Gallagher and Jeremy Grant,

The challenge of fostering the emergence and governance of an Identity Ecosystem is vast. I do think it is possible for a thriving ecosystem to emerge with the application of the best of available organizational, deliberative and governance processes and structures.

The high level vision outlined in the NSTIC has buy-in from a broad group of stakeholders. Making it real will involve government participation with the private commercial sector and civil society groups (neighborhood associations, schools, religious institutions, sports leagues, advocacy groups). The government also can’t abdicate responsibility and just collaborate with the private sector because its job is to be an advocate for the people and ensure that the guiding principles are not left behind because they are inconvenient or perceived to cost too much. The private sector is not just the largest IT companies, and government must remember to foster some space for new innovations to emerge. Government must, in this startup phase, develop with the broadest possible range of stakeholders, agree upon metrics (both qualitative and quantitative) for ecosystem health, balance and success, and have in place systems to monitor and feed back to the system the results from the agreed-upon indicators.

The danger of creating an unbalanced (in a range of ways) ecosystem is also present. On the one hand, because it could become very easy for virtually any company online to request highly validated identities and require the presentation of identifiers associated with “real legal name” credentials for almost all transactions and comments. This is an inhibitor of civil freedoms and creates a participatory panopticon

situation. On the other hand, a diverse range of accountability networks may not gain adoption because they are not well understood and therefore transactions online decline or people retreat into private commercially-controlled silos.

I open my response by diving into some of the terms and frames that are in NSTIC and used to talk about identity generally, along with examples from my community context. Within the history of the user-centric identity community are some key insights into how to best proceed with developing common stakeholder alignment towards collaborative action to make the vision presented in NSTIC a reality.

You will notice I take the liberty to craft questions that I wish were in the NOI. I added them because it is systems seeing and insight that will be key to effectively “steering”, or to use a more appropriate metaphor, catalyzing industry to move towards making the NSTIC vision of interoperable accountability frameworks and interoperable technologies for identities.

In the last 6 years I have worked with many talented systems thinkers, process innovators,  facilitators, and I have invited four of them to contribute in this response with me listed above as co-authors of particular sections.

My overall goal in this response is to outline several processes and structures that:

  • cultivate shared language and understanding,
  • collaboratively develop maps of common understanding of issues, ecosystem roles and value flows,
  • facilitate efficient information sharing,
  • provide efficient systems synthesis,
  • provide unique analytical tools,
  • allow the system to find pulse points to measure success and warn of imbalances,
  • have the potential to foster broad legitimacy with disinterested citizens (who after all are the ones with the identities, identifiers and claims) and
  • most importantly, foster collaboration and shared action by the wide pool of interested stakeholders working on making an Identity Ecosystem real.

I describe how they can be applied to the development of, leadership of, and ongoing accountability to all stakeholders of a “steering group”.

Because of the length and depth of my response, I have added a Table of Contents beginning on the next page.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this document.  I would be happy to answer them. I look forward to continued participation in this process.


-Kaliya, Identity Woman


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