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Kim Cameron scholarship commemorates a digital identity legacy still growing

Kim Cameron scholarship commemorates a digital identity legacy still growing

The OpenID Foundation recently announced the Kim Cameron award program in order to support a new generation of user-centric digital identity specialists. The pilot award, whose deadline is today, grants financial support to attend an upcoming identity conference, either the European Identity Conference in Berlin, Germany, May 10 to 13 or Identiverse in Denver, Colorado, June 21 to 25.

These digital identity industry events are often not accessible to aspiring and early career professionals. Yet, there is a lot of benefit in attending these events by being exposed to the ideas presented and to meet and network with the professionals in the industry. These are exactly the kinds of events to inspire the next generation of IAM professionals.

“The Scholarship Program is a ‘token’ literally and figuratively, a tangible symbol celebrating Kim’s legacy of mentorship” said Don Thibeau, a member of the OpenID Foundation Board of Directors, wrote to Biometric Update in an email.

The award program is intended to create a path for young scholars, researchers and technologists to help them contribute to the digital identity community at large. In order to be considered for an award, submissions must include the desired event and a 300 word description how the award will help advance the recipient’s identity career. The deadline is Monday, April 25, 2022 at 6pm PT and award recipients will be notified by April 29, 2022.

Kim Cameron’s Legacy

The identity industry was grief-stricken in November 2021 when news circulated of Kim Cameron’s death. Many colleagues posted heartfelt tributes. I’ve collected some of my favorite exerpts.

“I want to post the original version of a column I wrote for PC Plus back in 2005 where I had entirely misread the commission which said ‘not so much with the personal angle’ and wrapped it around with personal details – because my memories of Kim are equal parts technical mastery and personal kindness and support,” writes Mary Branscombe in Cannibal Lobsters and Stolen Fingerprints – remembering Kim Cameron.

“At that first IIW, we went to dinner at the end of day one,” recounts Phil Windley in his post, Remembering Kim Cameron. “The idea was that everyone would pay for their own meal since the workshop hadn’t collected any money in the registration for that. Kim, with his typical generosity, told everyone that Microsoft would buy dinner…and drinks. Later he confided to me that he wasn’t sure Microsoft would really pick up the tab—which turned out to be surprisingly large because of the alcohol—but he’d make sure it was covered either way. That started a tradition. Microsoft has sponsored the workshop dinner at every in-person IIW we’ve held. Not only with dinner, but in countless other ways, Kim’s participation and support was instrumental in building IIW over the years.”

“Kim injected his 7 laws of identity into Microsoft’s DNA as their Chief Architect of Identity at a time, when Microsoft was still ‘under the dark influence of Privacy is Dead’, and transformed that ‘big complicated place’, as he called it, into a modern and forward-thinking, privacy driven company that is respectful of the rights of individuals and organizations, and has become a strong contributor to the Identity Standards Community,” writes Joerg Resch in Rest in Peace, Kim Cameron.

“As the Director of Identity Systems for Microsoft, his high regard for the human factors, humans’ choices, and humans’ dignity was unexpected,” Britt Blaser writes in his tribute, Remembering a Human, Being. “I never heard him call us ‘users’, echoing Doc Searls’ insight that only tech companies and drug peddlers call their customers ‘users’.”

“Perhaps more than anyone at Microsoft—or at any big company—Kim pushed constantly toward openness, inclusivity, compatibility, cooperation, and the need for individual agency and scale,” Doc Searls recalls in his Remembering Kim Cameron. “His laws, and other contributions to tech, are still only beginning to have full influence.”

Cameron was a brilliant and influential thinker, and influenced everyone building digital identity products the past 15 years, whether they knew it or not. He is best known for his 7 laws of identity which are:.

  1. User control and consent
  2. Minimum disclosure for a constrained use
  3. Justifiable parties
  4. Directed identity (e.g., pairwise identity)
  5. Pluralism of operators
  6. Human integration
  7. Consistent experience across contexts

And it’s worth reading his original 2005 paper.

“The Internet was not built with an Identity layer,” is one of Cameron’s most famous quotes used in countless identity presentations (I’m guilty too!) and it simply explains why products, tools and humans still struggle to implement good identity solutions today.

Just the beginning

The OpenID Foundation is a non-profit international standardization organization enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the Foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users.

OpenID already plans to extend the Kim Cameron award program in collaboration with member-donated direct funding and support from the OpenID Foundation Japan, Women in Identity and IDPro. To contribute directly to the award, contact OpenID Foundation Non-Executive Director, Don Thibeau.

About the author

Heather Vescent is a digital identity industry thought leader and futurist with more than a decade of experience delivering strategic intelligence consulting to governments, corporations and entrepreneurs. Vescent’s research has been covered in the New York Times, CNN, American Banker, CNBC, Fox and the Atlantic. She is co-author of the The Secrets of Spies, The Cyber Attack Survival Manual and The Comprehensive Guide to Self Sovereign Identity.

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