Harvard Berkman Center senior fellow John Clippinger tipped me off to the Federal CTO Summit that's taking place at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC from April 5-7. Clippinger is one of the speakers at tomorrow's event and will be contributiing to the discussion on streamlining information sharing and assurance -- a session that dovetails President Bush's Executive Order to establish an information sharing council. According to the event's Web site, the mission of the event is as follows:
The Federal CTO Summit was created specifically to respond to the needs of our post-9/11 world. It is an unprecedented collaborative effort between the federal government – including the defense and intelligence communities and state/local government IT leadership – and the private sector.
Under the auspices of the Berkman Center and in conjunction with the Eclipse Foundation, Clippinger is currently working on Project Higgins, the goal of which (according to a recent press release) is:
....developing software for "user-centric" identity management, an emerging trend in security software. It enables individuals to actively manage and control their online personal information, such as bank account, telephone and credit card numbers, or medical and employment records -- rather than institutions managing that information as they do today. People will decide what information they want shared with trusted online websites that use the software.
Project Higgins is getting significant traction in the ID management community. Touted by some as the open source answer to Microsoft's InfoCard (see also: Open Source Higgins Project Takes on Microsoft's Infocard), the project got a major shot in the arm when IBM and Novell decided to throw some of their muscle behind it. Further cementing Higgins as ground zero for ID DNA interoperability, the Higgins Project is also incorporating connectivity to Microsoft's Infocard technology. In his blog, Microsoft ID honcho Kim Cameron puts some positive spin on the development. Wrote Cameron:
In addition to attending the Federal CTO Summit and hearing what John has to say, there are other ways to keep your thumb on the pulse of this rapidly converging area. In addition to reading Cameron's blog, you can also point your browser at the Identity Gang Web site as well as subscribe to Kaliya "the Identity Woman" Hamlin's blog. Additionally, you can visit this directory of ID movers and shakers to find other blogs and resources and try attending the Internet Identity Workshop at the Computer History Museum in Moutain View, CA on May 1-3 and/or the Berkman Center's Conference on User Centric Identity and Commerce in Cambridge, MA from June 19-21 (no links yet, but it's open to the public).
Some observers might interpret the emergence of an open source identity initiative as a fracturing of our efforts into different factions. I think that view would be very wrong...The support for InfoCard connectivity by IBM and Novell - as well as “less corporate” members of the open source community - is absolutely one of the most important steps forward we have seen. Of course every player has other ideas they want to bring to the table as well, and that is as it should be.
[Update 4/6/06: Here's a link for the Berkman Center's Conference on User Centric Identity and Commerce]