Kay Chopard on Driving Digital Trust
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Speaker Spotlight

Kay Chopard on Driving Digital Trust

Andrea Beskers
Published on Sep 07, 2021

Kay Chopard, Executive Director of the Kantara Initiative is to host a workshop entitled Driving Digital Trust on Monday, September 13 starting at 9:00 am at EIC 2021.

To give you a sneak preview of what to expect, we asked Kay some questions about Kantara’s planned workshop.

Which audience do you hope to attract to the Kantara workshop?

We really hope that a diverse audience will be attracted to the Kantara workshop. The reason I say that is - we're very focused, obviously in the work we do around identity, around assurance programs, around really developing what we recommend the part of standards that are used internationally. And then also taking that the next step and making sure that those standards are implemented in the identity products that are available in the field. So I hope that we will attract people with a variety of interests who want to learn about - what are some of the cutting edge issues, especially around identity standards that we are trying to tackle - much of which there is – it's all new work that's happening.

So I hope that people will be interested for that reason. And I also hope that people who are interested in implementing good protocols, procedures, products that balance privacy and security, and are really held to a very high standard, will also be interested to find out what we're doing, to help those in the field, to really be able to manage that, because it's a tricky balance. We have a program with a lot of integrity that I hope people will be interested to learn more about.

What are Kantara's goals?

The mission of Kantara is to grow and fulfill the market for trustworthy use of identity and personal data. And that's a very broad mission. But to do that, some of the things you see in our mission are words like trust, grow, fulfilling what the market needs. So, those are kind of areas that we focus on. We do this in a couple of ways. One, we have what I would describe as a stellar, really a remarkable assurance program, which provides companies and governments with the ability to trust services that are held to a set of service criteria. So that's really important. The other goal is that we have been a trust framework provider since about 2010. So we have accredited assessors. We have approved service providers, it's all based on agreed service assessment criteria.

So, it's a very structured program and in some ways it's very tough. But that said, it really is a program with so much integrity and it really provides the ability for a third-party assessment to help those who want to provide services. As I mentioned, that really balanced that privacy and security in an efficient and effective manner, and yet is able to support that trust that is really needed in the system. So those are pretty broad goals, but we also, in many ways - and I think I hope this is clear to people - we're a neutral body, so we're not supporting specific ways to solve for any of these. What we're saying is, let's all be held to this high standard so that the products that people come up with, that they have developed really meet the needs of the users and of government agencies and of those in the field. So, those are, I think, our big sort of high-level goals.

What would you like the key takeaways of the workshop to be?

Going back to some of the things that I said about the goals, I really hope that they will take away a couple of things. One, Kantara as a neutral body, as a nonprofit is a place where people can engage and they can be a part of these discussions so that they are learning and building their own professional knowledge and skills. And at the same time, they're contributing to these emerging areas where the standards are not well-developed yet, but we need the voice of the people in the community. So it is a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved and I would encourage them to consider that. And it's also an area where we need more diversity. We need more people to be engaged. Kantara is very much a global organization.

And so we really open our doors to folks who work in this industry from all different parts of the world. And I think coming together to understand and build systems that are standards based, and assess to a specific set of criteria is very important. And I hope that people will walk away feeling like they understand the work that we're doing, but also that they see an opportunity for themselves to get engaged. And we hope they will.

Has the pandemic affected Kantara's plans?

The pandemic really hasn't affected our plans in terms of our mission and vision remained the same. If anything, I think it is emphasized and made that mission even more critical. So it's become more important to have programs, to have identity products, to provide services that, as I said, assure that privacy and still maintain security, and that are interoperable, that work collaboratively with the private sector and with government entities.

I see Kantara as the organization that can help make that a reality. And so, in that sense, the way that it has affected us has made our mission even more critical than it was before. So, in many ways, it's a leap forward. It is not a step back and we're very committed to that. We're very committed to maintaining an assurance program that's dedicated to the highest level of ethics and confidentiality standards - really support service providers. We're very dedicated to that. And the pandemic has just made that even more of a priority. So in some ways it's a blessing in disguise. It has turned out, I think, that has just heightened the level of interest and focus on the work we do.

Are there new areas of focus for you in Kantara?

There are some new areas, and there's probably more than I'm going to be able to list today. So hopefully people will come to the workshop because I think you'll get a chance to hear a lot more about many of the new areas. I'll just highlight a couple things. One, a new area of focus is on mobile driver's licenses. That is really something that is taking off - that is a growing area. And there's a real need for standards and criteria in that specific area, because it's relatively new. But again, in many ways, the pandemic has made the focus on that more critical than it might've been. So a lot of things has sort of jumped to lightspeed because of the pandemic, because now we are so reliant on being able to do all of these different things virtually and identity proofing has become more important than ever.

And there's a lot of issues with the pandemic that need to be addressed. So that's one - another area that I hope we will work on – and this is as a new executive director – I am hoping for more diverse participation. I would love to encourage others who might have seen the Kantara organization as a little bit more narrowly focused to encourage you, that we support diversity in our membership and in all of the activities and the work that we do. And that's very important. And so I hope that that will be an area of focus that we will encourage that broader participation. So, I hope that folks coming to the workshop will be interested to learn again, how they can get involved.

And I think help us, because the more diverse that we are, the better work products we're going to have, right? We're going to be establishing new input on standards, the more diverse the participation, the better that's going to be, and that permeates everything that we do. So we're very excited to open up our doors to many folks to get involved. So I hope the conference participants will really consider taking a few moments to comment here about the new goals and the new products and the new areas that we're working in.

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