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Identity: Don Thibeau, at large in the UK

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Last week, Don Thibeau, Chairman and Director at large of Open Identity Exchange (OIX) , and Executive Director of The OpenID Foundation paid a visit to the UK. Recognising common issues around fraud and identity, he discussed the need for a ‘team of rivals’ to come together to resolve these issues.

Creating an Identity Ecosystem

OIX is, in part, a response to the US Government’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) which seeks to create what it calls the “Identity Ecosystem Framework”. This is a set of interoperability standards, risk models, privacy and liability policies, requirements, and accountability mechanisms that structure the Identity Ecosystem.  To achieve that goal NSTIC calls for the creation of a private sector-led Steering Group to administer the process for development of the requisite policy and standards, and to ensure that accreditation authorities validate participants’ adherence to the requirements of the Identity Ecosystem Framework.  So not dissimilar to the ‘schemes’ concept we blogged about last week, though driven by private sector interest, rather than for Government transactions, as in the UK.

Team of Rivals

OIX brings together some of the United States' (if not the world’s) largest corporations in data, telecommunications and digital. They recognise they have a common issue around fraud and identity. Perhaps more importantly they recognise they will only solve this together as a 'team of rivals'.

Don presented a summary of the OIX activities and mission to our programme board and our industry stakeholder group who we were meeting with to discuss the ‘schemes’ concept.  Don also presented to a packed, industry wide event hosted at Microsoft’s offices in Victoria.  Sharing Don's experience from the US will hopefully inspire suppliers in the UK to find a better way of working together to the benefit of all.


There are clear implications for the UK in this US led approach.  Conversely, Don believes the UK is blazing a trail for an approach to Identity Assurance, as he points out in this clip below, that he believes could fundamentally change the way all of us transact online.

The US in particular, is paying close attention to what we are doing in this area. For our part, we are trying to ensure that our solution, based largely on the challenge of Identity Assurance for government transactions, will have implications and applications far beyond this initial brief.

As we develop and enhance this solution over the coming months there is no doubt that with the ‘eyes of the world watching us’ the importance of continuing to explain our approaches will become more important.

We grabbed Don quickly  between appointments to explain both the mission of OIX and the opportunities he sees within the UK approach.

Interview with Don Thibeau Part 1 (Youtube)

Interview with Don Thibeau Part 2 (Youtube)

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  1. Comment by Identity Assurance goes to Washington | Government Digital Service posted on

    [...] in response to the NSTIC as a means for competing private sector organisations to work together, as discussed by the OIX Chairman, Don Thibeau, on his recent visit to the UK, to develop consistent and inter-operable services and solutions. It brings together a huge amount [...]