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17 February 2015
Successful joint US and EU workshop on Trust and Identity

The GÉANT TIC (Trust and Identity Committee) and Internet2 TIER (Trust and Identity for Education and Research) initiatives met at a workshop in Zurich on 3-4 February to discuss the status and future of US-EU collaboration on trust and identity technology, policy, and federation efforts. The workshop was hosted at the offices of SWITCH, Switzerland’s national research and education network (NREN).

There was mutual recognition that trust and identity are increasingly critical aspects of research and education, particularly when viewed in the context of a progressively more global, and sometimes hostile, environment where campuses must orchestrate the delivery of services from multiple providers and collaborating organisations in a coherent, secure, and attractive manner. Workshop participants agreed that as a critical part of this delivery chain, global research and education networks have a responsibility to enable their constituencies to achieve these outcomes by providing products and services that are consistent with, and actively promote, the interests of their organisations and users.

While noting the challenges ahead, the workshop affirmed a commitment to deepen the level of EU-US collaboration by seeking out opportunities to collaborate on joint developments, avoid areas of duplication, leverage compatible work, and further enhance the level of interoperability between researchers, scholars and students on a global basis. The workshop also confirmed that the Internet2 TIER and GÉANT TIC initiatives are highly complementary, with their differing focuses on the campus and international elements respectively; both elements are needed for a globally interoperable environment and so, moving forward, the workshop participants agreed to strive towards new synergies from closer alignment.

Specific goals arising from the workshop included the establishment of a strategic coordination group; identification of a venue and process for developing global standards; alignment of requirements for Cloud providers; and a detailed mapping of existing US and EU development projects and their underlying use cases. The group plans to convene again at the Internet2 Global Summit in Washington, D.C. in April 2015, and again at this year’s research and education networking conference, TNC15, in Porto, Portugal, in June 2015.

Shelton Waggener, senior vice president of Internet2, leading the US delegation, said: “The past decade of developing and integrating complementary national identity federations provides a strong foundation for the next generation of trust and access services critical to our collective support of global research and education. The workshop reinforced that need and our commitment to work together.”

Josh Howlett, head of trust and identity at Jisc and chair of the GÉANT TIC, said: “The emerging global trust and identity needs of campuses and users requires a new phase of enhanced collaboration between research and education networks. I am very satisfied that we have achieved an important step toward that goal.”