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Joint US and EU workshop on trust and identity charts course for the future

Image courtesy AJ Cann, Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The GÉANT TIC (Trust and Identity Committee) and Internet2 TIER (Trust and Identity for Education and Research) initiatives met at a workshop in Zurich, Switzerland, 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 organizations 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 organizations and users.


The GÉANT TIC (Trust and Innovation Committee) is part of the GÉANT project, which is co-funded by the European Commission and Europe's NRENs and is managed and run by the GÉANT Association on behalf of its partners: 37 European NRENs, the GÉANT Association's Cambridge office (formerly DANTE) and Amsterdam office (formerly TERENA), and NORDUnet (representing the five Nordic countries).


Internet2 is a community of US and international leaders in research, academia, industry, and government who create and collaborate via innovative technologies. Together, this community works to accelerate research discovery, advance national and global education, and improve the delivery of public services. Today, Internet2 comprises 252 US universities, 82 leading corporations, 68 affiliate members (including government agencies), 41 regional and state education networks, and more than 65 national research and education networking partners representing over 100 countries.

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, DC, US, 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, says: "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, says: "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."

Reproduced with the kind permission of GÉANT Association.

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