[Openid-specs-ab] SIOP, Trust Frameworks, and SSI/Open Source

David Waite david at alkaline-solutions.com
Thu May 13 15:55:12 UTC 2021

Adrian brought two good points on the SIOP Atlantic call today, but we unfortunately ran out of time.

First, the most easily discussed - trust frameworks are perhaps not the clearest term for the concept. In this context, the reference is to a body that makes a set of technical and non-technical requirements necessary for interoperability within a group, where that group is commonly referred to as a federation.

If another existing term is usable, I’d be all for considering it.

His second point, if I understood correctly, comes to whether a trust framework which attempts to audit/certify participants is compatible with various community goals, such as user choice in wallet software and general self-soverignity. This is most likely the longer conversation.

We’ve learned from experiences with Web Authentication, Web Payments and financial-grade API efforts that parties will have minimal requirements around things like user experience and security to adopt a system. Such federations may require a closed system, where only certified issuers, holders and verifiers are allowed to participate. In the worst case, a party may be blocked from participation by biased governance.

In the healthcare space (which I’m NOT an expert in by any means) the verifier may need to know whether or not a holder’s informed user consent process meets regulatory requirements before accepting a presented credential. 

The goal would be to support both a model where participation is gated by the governance, auditing and certification processes of a federation, and a model where participation is via self-certification. This would be for all roles - issuers, verifiers and holders.

I lean toward more open participation where possible, and the hope would be that the simplicity of self-certification vs the maintenance of auditing/certification processes would be sufficient motivation to create open systems by default.


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