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Linux Foundation launches new project to tackle digital trust

Read time 3min 30sec

A new 

cross-industry coalition hosted by The Linux Foundation aims at developing a robust standard that will improve universal security and privacy for consumers and businesses in the digital era.

With businesses struggling to protect and manage digital assets and data, it is hoped that the new Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation will enable the trustworthy exchange and verification of data between all parties using the Internet. 

The foundation is the culmination of years of work across the decentralised identity and trusted data exchange communities. Its steering members include Accenture, BrightHive, Cloudocracy, Continuum Loop, CULedger, Dhiway, esatus, Evernym, Finicity, Futurewei Technologies, IBM Security, IdRamp, Lumedic, Mastercard, MITRE, the Province of British Columbia and SICPA. The Linux Foundation was chosen to host ToIP due to its legacy of fostering open-source collaboration and innovation for some of the largest projects in the world.

Announcing the launch of ToIP which is scheduled to take place tomorrow (7 May), The Linux Foundation noted that low consumer confidence in the use of personal data was slowing down innovation on opportunities like digital identity and the adoption of new services that could support humanity. This was being exacerbated in an increasingly complex enterprise environment that includes the Internet of things (IOT), edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and more.

“The ToIP Foundation has the promise to provide the digital trust layer that was missing in the original design of the Internet and to trigger a new era of human possibility,” Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation.

The ToIP steering committee members who are drawn from governments, non-profit organisations and the private sector from around the world, believe that an open governance model which can be integrated into the development of the standards for digital trust is essential in situations where the business, legal and social guidelines for technology adoption impact human trust and behaviour.

This, in conjunction with The Linux Foundation’s open governance model, will ensure that the ToIP Foundation is able to advance a combination of technology and governance standards for digital trust in a neutral forum that supports pan-industry collaboration.

“The combination of open standards and protocols, pan-industry collaboration and our neutral governance structure will support this new category of digital identity and verifiable data exchange,” Zemlin explained.

The ToIP Foundation has the promise to provide the digital trust layer that was missing in the original design of the Internet.

Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation.

Christine Leong, global lead for Decentralized Identity & Biometrics at Accenture, a member of the ToIP steering committee, said the ToIP Foundation was bringing together a powerful mix of experts and doing it at exactly the right time given the urgent need to encourage greater adoption and increase trust in data privacy and ownership.

Dan Gisolfi, CTO, Decentralized Identity at IBM Security, concurred. “In today’s digital economy, businesses and consumers need a way to be certain that data being exchanged has been sent by the rightful owner and that it will be accepted as truth by the intended recipient. Many privacy focused innovations are now being developed to solve this challenge, but there is no ‘recipe book’ for the exchange of trusted data across multiple vendor solutions,” he said. “The new Trust over IP Foundation marks an evolutionary step which goes beyond standards, specs and code, creating a community-driven playbook for establishing ‘ecosystems of trust’… built upon cryptographic proofs.”

Even SICPA, a Swiss company that spent the last 90 years providing security inks to governments and organisations around the world for the printing of banknotes, identity documents and the like, is joining the ToIP Foundation.

“Physical and digital lives are increasingly entwined, at work and at home. Building trust at a distance and at scale is a global challenge that will form the keystone in delivering the ultimate promise of an interconnected world: to respect the rights, privacy and security of everyone online and offline,” Kalin Nicolov, Head of Digital Currency at SICPA, concluded.


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