The Open Identity Exchange (OIX) recently hosted a two-day member workshop with several representatives from the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service (GDS), a Cabinet Office in the Home Office. The representatives are responsible for creating and implementing innovative identity management programs for the UK. They understand that collaboration with industry and the public is critical to their success and wanted to learn more about OIX and its efforts in identity management and attribute exchange.

The presentations provided a grounding in the structure and substance of OIX individual members and working groups, the work of groups like OASIS, and finally the private and public sector’s ongoing collaborations in these areas. The UK representatives view OIX as a model that could assist them in their efforts to establish an open dialogue between all parties interested in transforming government digital services to meet the needs of individuals.

As we spoke openly and honestly about these issues, I offered my perspective that privacy should be viewed as a value add, not a barrier to their efforts. I drew on my experiences working collaboratively with other federal professionals and private sector representatives on several priority identity management initiatives. I suggested that part of our success in those efforts came from framing the discussions in terms of finding common ground; a common ground in the design of, and processes for, high-profile private/public partnerships and the systems and services that would accompany their implementation.

In framing the charge in that manner, my fellow privacy professionals and I functioned as “privacy and identity architects,” an adopted title we wore with pride. We helped the partnership identify the desired program and policy end goals before translating privacy considerations into core components that helped achieve the initiatives by strengthening and enhancing the final implementation plans and policies.

I noted that the concept “privacy as value added” is a foundational cornerstone of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) initiative, and will enhance the overall effort. Seeing privacy as providing concrete value added support for identity management efforts seemed to resonate with the UK representatives.

Who knows? It’s talks like these that can generate the type of productive collaborations needed to evolve identity management in cyberspace.