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Kantara seeks 'active' APAC policymakers

Despite regulatory differences, technology policymakers in region should join global initiative to tackle issues around identity interoperability, urges CA exec.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor on

Despite disparity in privacy, trust and regulatory frameworks, technology policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region ought to involve themselves in a global initiative to tackle identity management, according to a CA executive.

Matthew Gardiner, director of product marketing for CA's security management business unit, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview that the challenges are largely similar at a more macro level as "we all use the same Internet". Gardiner represents CA in the Kantara Initiative and is a member of the Kantara Initiative Board of Trustees.

Launched last month, the Kantara Initiative aims to address the harmonization and interoperability challenges across enterprise identity systems, Web 2.0 applications and services, and Web-based initiatives.

Gardiner said: "My advice to Asian countries is to have their technologists take an active role in international standards bodies, but have their technology policy makers [looking into issues such as privacy, trust and legislation] take an active role in the Kantara Initiative." He added that standards-setting would be left in the hands of organizations such as Oasis.

The region, he noted, has been involved in the Kantara Initiative at both the trustee and membership level. Some of the program's "most active membership" are from Asia, with Japan being particularly active.

On the Kantara Web site the Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT) is listed as among its trustees. Under the initiative, there is also a special interest group known as the Japan Discussion Group.

Kantara: Integrating the integration
Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum, pointed out in a research note last month there have been "too many" efforts to promote bilateral interoperability between identity schemes. Kantara, however, has "more comprehensive ambitions", he said.

"[Kantara] may be thought of as trying to integrate the integration efforts," added Titterington. "The currently active initiatives within the Liberty Alliance are moving into the Kantara fold, and [it] is effectively taking over where Liberty left off."

The analyst noted it was still early days to tell if the initiative will indeed make a difference. "The collective membership of Kantara has the power to make things happen, but it is unclear to what extent the member organizations as a whole are committed to Kantara.

Titterington added: "The market will coalesce around initiatives that appear to be succeeding. 'Nothing succeeds like success' will be the guiding motto in this field."

Kantara's leadership, he explained, "appear to be too inward-looking" at present; what the project needs to do is "actively promote" its assets. "Kantara will have to work hard to generate commercial backing and momentum for whatever infrastructures it develops, precisely because of the business difficulties of sharing identities," said Titterington.

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