I had thought that my stories would advance in chronological order - but notice that so many rungs and rail composites from the early e-ladders are important in the next ones - that I keep moving back and forth. I hope it still makes sense.
At this point I cannot stay away from looking to the next concrete platform - the
interoperable European Trust Infrastructure. A Single Market for data - a true mission and clear vision. Do we have a strong platform to start from? Are there strong enough rails for the next ladder? What are the rungs needed in the ladder?
What should this ladder be called? Do we spend enough time on the next concrete steps or are our heads in the clouds?
1. Do we have a strong platform to start from? I claim yes. Firstly as progressive member states are moving forward and as the EU Commission has seen that the data driven economy is a top priority and already years ago moved to a new level
of mandatory legislation with GDPR (especially article 20). And legislation is moving forward to also make the public sector-hosted data moving to life events. Some danger that legislation will not work in reality has been located - and must be addressed properly.
A very important part of the starting platform are the generally accepted MyData principles - make it happen (data to life events) and make it right (human centric).. eIDAS2 is building on this.
Based on the concrete tests I have observed over five years with Self-Sovereign Identity and the Trust over IP stacks, it is clear to me that
this architecture is the way forward. Many enough countries have (i) understood that a national decision for it is needed, (ii) that open data, open source and open standards are the way forward, (iii) that we should use ready global standards
- in no case reinvent wheels for Europe and that (iv) there are no better alternatives. So lets start building the ladders.
2. Do we have strong enough rails? Stronger than ever before as the ID/factwallets are general-purpose tools and interoperable by design without technical integration and brings in a new dimension of trust and security. Economy of repetition,
trust reuse, scale, scope, scale, standardisation and legislation is familiar from earlier ladders. An element
needing strenghtening in many member states is the public-private co-operation. The public sectors sometimes tend to isolate themselves (also from knowhow and market conditions) and enterprises do not always see the good-for-society-at-large
as the highest goal. The public-private Findy-consortium has been a good example of how to get the ball rolling. Also the German IDUnion has produced impressive results. The most important part of the rails will be the
networks that interconnect all general-purpose wallets - serving the life event rungs.
3. What rungs are needed in the ladder? In my book the starting point is to promise to citizens - at home and at work (there are no corporate customers - only human..)- that
life-event driven service design rules. This means that service providers will (i) choose the life events the want to serve, (ii) identify the MyData (sometimes also Big Data) customers need for the life event, (iii) locate the data, (iv) make
sure that the data source get Factwallets to send and (v) customers Factwallets to reiceive the data. Once this is understood as the "constitution" in the Trust Infrastrucure we will see a
profileration of life-event serving rungs. Services using data from all sectors and across EU-borders without need for technical integration with the help of FindyNet-like public-private not-for-profit networks.
4. What should this ladder be called? Much effort is needed to create narratives that citizens understand and organisations take forward. A real effort should be made to name the platform we now stand on, the ladders and the destination
platform - so that the names are understood, communicated and stick. What is understood, is repeated and what is repeated changes the world. So my take for the foundation platform would be:
Open standards for Trust Infrastructure. Ladder: Bringing
verified data to life events. Next platform: European Interoperable Trust Infrastructure.
5. Do we spend enough time on the next concrete steps or are our heads only in the clouds?
I have to admit that it has disturbed me in the past, that there has been a tendency to
rush away to the next hype before a critical mass of users have been brought into using the previous ladder. Sometimes it even looks like we are trying to provide ladders with only the top rungs in place - not very user friendly.
Perhaps it is media's fault... I am of course not saying that we should not keep scanning the horizon all the time - and when there is a hunch we should take our idea around the next corner (we cannot see who is there..) and test it out. But
innovation happens only once a critical mass of customers have started to step on the next rung..
Until then it may be a figment of imagination or end up as a dead end street.