The Internet is one of the most extraordinary developments in human history. It is connecting the world farther, faster, and deeper than any previous communications network. It is steadily digitizing every company, industry, and economy it touches. And it is establishing new pathways for information of all types to flow.
Unfortunately, all of this has come with a growing downside. The Internet wasn’t designed with an integrated layer for digital identity, security, and privacy. As a result, we are now suffering from cybersecurity and cyberprivacy problems so severe that they have at times brought entire companies and industries to their knees.
The Trust Over IP (ToIP) Foundation was launched in May 2020 to tackle this problem at its very core: to define a complete architecture for Internet-scale digital trust. It combines cryptographic assurance at the machine layers and human accountability at the business, legal, and social layers. While ambitious, this mission is so urgent and essential that the Foundation has grown from its initial 27 founding member organizations to over ten times that number in just one year.
As part of the Foundation’s launch, working groups were established from the dedicated efforts of our founding members and volunteers. What those groups have accomplished in their first year has been phenomenal. Specifications, recommendations, guides, white papers, and glossaries have all been delivered. Through the groups’ efforts the Foundation has supported Digital Trust advances in many organizations and operations, especially important as the world grapples with the pandemic and the voluminous increase in everyday online activity.
Here’s a small taste of what our working groups have been up to since their inception last year.
Technology Stack Working Group (TSWG)
The TSWG provides guidance and specifications that support the ToIP 4-layer model from a technical standpoint.
The TSWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Created and pushed a Task Force recommendation that constructs a mapping of Kim Cameron’s “Laws of Identity”
- Created a task force in late 2020 to create early specifications for Authentic Chained Data Containers. This task force is focused on the semantics of source provenance, authorization provenance, and delegation.
- Focused the Interoperability Task Force on the creation of interoperability test suites that leverage and extend the Hyperledger Aries test suites. Multiple underlying Layer-1 technologies are being examined as well.
- Focused the Technical Architecture Task Force on building the TSS (ToIP Standard Specification) that defines the overall technical requirements for the four layers of the ToIP Stack
- Created a Trust Registry Task Force to handle creation of the specifications and API (OpenAPI 3.0 compatible) for trust registries. This work was spawned from the urgent need identified by the Good Health Pass Interoperability Working Group.
Governance Stack Working Group (GSWG)
The GSWG specifies tools, templates, and other resources for developing governance frameworks (collections of rules and policies). These, in turn, support the integration of the legal, business, and social components of Digital Trust.
The GSWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Made steady progress with the ToIP Governance Architecture TSS
- Advanced the ToIP Governance Metamodel to the point where the GSWB now plans to issue it as a separate specification (apart from the ToIP Governance Architecture TSS), along with an associated Companion Guide
- Contributed heavily to the governance framework recommendations in the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint
- Advised the authors of several ToIP-based governance framework projects in the market
- Initiated a Trust Assurance Task Force focusing on governance risk assessment and accountability
- Drafted a Risk Assessment Worksheet Template and associated Companion Guide
Ecosystem Foundry Working Group (EFWG)
The EFWG facilitates a community of practice among governance authorities, implementers, operators, and service providers of Trust over IP Layer-4 ecosystems.
The EFWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Formed the Internet of Research Ecosystem Task Force to pioneer implementation of academic resource identifiers ecosystems for the research community
- Created the COVID-19 Credentials Governance Framework Task Force to develop reference materials, best practices, and templates that enable diverse organizations to respond with technology
- Formed the YOMA Ecosystem Task Force to create a ToIP-based Governance Framework to positively impact youth and local communities around the world
- Formed the Human Trafficking Safety Response Task Force to research the use of ToIP models to effect the transformation of global human trafficking response
- Drafted the initial Ecosystem Foundry Concepts and Workflow Model to aid ecosystem development and operation
Utility Foundry Working Group (UFWG)
As with the EFWG, the UFWG also facilitates a community of practice among governance authorities, implementers, operators, and service providers, but instead for Trust over IP Layer-1 utilities.
The UFWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Worked alongside utility conveners to document their utility into story formats
- Committed best practice documents to the WG GitHub Repository, such as Decentralized Network Best Practices and Decentralized Network Design Principles
- Worked to publish a public UFWG paper with which will incorporate many of our outputs as well as case studies from utility projects we’ve interfaced with
- Committed to expanding the coverage of the UFWG to non-Indy-based ledgers.
Inputs and Semantics Working Group (ISWG)
The ISWG provides an open forum for discussing the concepts and components that will ultimately shape a Dynamic Data Economy (DDE), a safe and secure decentralized data sharing economy.
The ISWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Delivered whitepapers such as Decentralized Resource Identifiers in the Research Landscape
- Contributed to the Good Health Interoperability Blueprint (“GHP Blueprint”), such as for “Standard Data Models and Elements” and “Security, Privacy, and Data Protection”
- Housed the Health Care Task Force (HCTF) that led to GHP Blueprint recommendations
- Defined a privacy controller credential to ensure trustworthiness for the use of decentralized identifiers across ecosystems
- Facilitated several presentations from external presenters of storage and portability solutions
- Tackled important security concepts such as data correlation attacks, machine-readable data agreements, and data protection requirements
Concepts and Terminology Working Group (CTWG)
The CTWG analyzes and maintains terminology requirements of stakeholder groups within and outside the ToIP Foundation.
The CTWG has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Maintained glossaries for the reuse of terms across groups, with mapping of terms and definitions across groups to encourage harmonization
- Surveyed the available terminology development and maintenance tools on the market
- Authored its own specification for a ToIP Term tool
- Innovated with an approach called “terms wikis” to enable different stakeholder groups to develop and maintain glossaries in their own contexts.
Interoperability Working Group for Good Health Pass (IWG-GHP)
The IWG-GHP facilitated a community of practice among implementers, issuers, holders, verifiers, governance authorities, and other participants within the Good Health Pass digital trust ecosystem.
The IWG-GHP has, amongst many accomplishments:
- Authored a blueprint based on an outline created by ID2020, going live in June 2021
- Coordinated the meeting and responses of ten different drafting groups
- Completed a 150-page report, the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint, that makes key recommendations on how to reopen global travel with verifiable credentials for sharing COVID-19 health status (tests, vaccinations, and recovery).
There’s More To Do
Our work is just getting started! We encourage anyone interested in Digital Trust to join Trust Over IP and get involved in our working groups.
Here’s to our continued advancements and successes!