W3C Statements about TAG Nominees for 2020 Election

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This is the list of nominees for the 2020 election to the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). Each person has been nominated by at least one W3C Member according to the TAG election process.

The W3C Membership elects the TAG. For this election W3C will fill four seats. W3C will announce the results on 7 January 2021.

Note: The deadline for votes is 04:59 UTC on 2021-01-06 (23:59, Boston time on 2021-01-05).

The following statements were sent about the nominees (in alphabetical order by nominee family name):

  1. Wayne Chang (Spruce Systems, Inc.)
  2. Amy Guy (Digital Bazaar) 
  3. Don Marti (CafeMedia)
  4. Jordan Mitchell (IAB Technology Laboratory, Inc.)
  5. Sangwhan Moon (W3C Invited Expert) *
  6. Theresa O'Connor (Apple, Inc.)*
  7. Martin Thomson (Mozilla Foundation)
  8. Lea Verou (W3C Invited Expert)
  9. Jeffrey Yasskin (Google, Inc.)

An asterisk (*) indicates that the nominee is a current participant. All individuals were nominated by the AC Representatives of their organizations unless otherwise indicated below.

Wayne Chang (Spruce Systems, Inc.)

I am self-nominating on behalf of Spruce Systems, Inc. and this is my personal statement (markdown rendered version here):

I believe that for the web to be open, we need interoperability enabled by well-designed standards that are coordinated and widely adopted.

Current focus

I am the founder and CEO of the software startup and W3C member Spruce Systems, Inc. We are betting the company on people who believe that the Internet is for end users, and we have found some early success through the adoption and implementation of emerging W3C standards including Verifiable Credentials, Decentralized Identifiers, JSON-LD, and WebAssembly.

I am therefore deeply invested in the continued success and proliferation of open web standards in general, and I recognize their potential to level the playing field so that small vendors such as my company can ship excellent interoperable products without gatekeepers or rent-seekers.

W3C community involvement

I am serving as the co-chair of the W3C Credentials Community Group, which is one of the most active to date, with over 100 monthly mailing list messages, dozens of active work items, and hundreds of public community members. My volunteer job here is to serve members of the community to give their work items the best chance at becoming a high quality [Report], standards-track specification, or official registry. Through this, I have gained experience coordinating and supporting a cadre of part-time draft contributors, anticipating their needs, and figuring out how to unblock them. I would like to bring this service-oriented mentality to my contributions in the TAG, doing more to engage active Working Groups within the W3C.

As a contributor in the Decentralized Identifier Working Group, I have written responses to our PING [self-assessment] and am beginning to understand what it is like to work with the TAG from the other side. I would focus on identifying improvement opportunities for the user experience of the Working Group members, whom like everyone else, are contributors who care deeply but are often time constrained with competing priorities as part of their full-time responsibilities.

I am also starting a community group called Rebase, which seeks to solve the problem of bootstrapping PKI on the Internet using existing social media graphs at the user's own volition, incorporating a healthy dose of W3C standards possibly including but definitely not limited to Verifiable Credentials, Decentralized Identifiers, ActivityPub, and WoT to keep things vendor neutral. Our proposed charter is [here] and you can find a project description [here]. We could also use just one more supporter in [our proposal] to kick things off!

Background and interests

I have a background in engineering and startups, having founded two companies in security-oriented and regulated industries prior to my current one and always hacking on side projects along the way. I have been writing code for over 15 years. My last full-time position was with ConsenSys starting in 2017, to whom I'll always be grateful for introducing me to the W3C community, granting me freedom to choose my own paths, and giving me the opportunity to further develop my professional paranoia and applied cryptography skills with millions of dollars of digital assets on the line.

Plans for TAG

Based on all of the above, I have some pretty straightforward responsibilities and ambitions that I would like to pursue if I am elected to the TAG:

If you agree with this direction and are a W3C member, my ask to you is that you petition your W3C Advisory Committee representative to participate in the TAG election and rank me favorably in their vote. You can find your AC rep here: [https://www.w3.org/Member/ACList].

Thanks for the read!

Amy Guy (Digital Bazaar)

I grew up alongside the Web, and have never known the world without it. Early tinkering with HTML and CSS shaped the course of my life and became a formative part of how I interacted with the world. It is deeply important to me to see the Web move forward as a positive force, and to push back against the surveillance, manipulation, and abuse that are routine across many parts of the Web today.

I hold a PhD in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh, with a visiting year at MIT. My thesis builds on my personal experiences with online communities; I researched self-expression on the Web and how interconnected social and technical systems support or impede online interactions. At the same time, I helped shape the future of the social Web through co-editing and implementing several specifications of the W3C Social Web Working Group. I also spent a year and a half as the Working Group's Team Contact, which familiarised me with W3C processes and politics.

I spent the years since developing software to support openness and transparency for public good. I have worked with investigative journalists and open data activists, facilitating the efforts of civil society groups, governments, and the private sector internationally. I continue this work as a Director of Open Data Services Co-operative, building and maintaining tools that use the Web to promote civic use of data and fight corruption worldwide. I also work with Digital Bazaar on Web standards related to decentralisation, with the goal of enabling a foundational layer of technologies to support individual agency on the Web.

These experiences at the intersection of civic work and cutting edge standards development give me a unique perspective to bring to the TAG. There is no need for trade-offs between participation and privacy, or between community and autonomy, when building empowering Web technologies. My strengths lie in listening to input from a range of perspectives, discerning the common grounds on which to move forwards, and turning consensus into concrete specification text.

The TAG has a great record over recent years of promoting security, privacy, and accessibility as core parts of Web standards. These are a foundation upon which to build a better Web, but we need to do more. What good is an accessible Web if it is used to spread misinformation and hate speech? Our efforts around privacy are eroded if our digital legacies can disappear overnight because it's not profitable to keep them around. What of the algorithmic discrimination that can have disastrous effects on individuals and communities?

The TAG is positioned to have a broad oversight of W3C standards: how the products of different Working Groups fit together in the wider context of society, international cultural norms, and legislation. We must use this perspective to ensure W3C members empower, rather than disenfranchise, people who use the Web.

As a member of the TAG, I will push for a future for the Web where access and participation are based on meaningful consent. I want to see Web standard work which enables viable alternatives, context-sensitive experiences, and the ability to opt out without missing out.

Find me at https://rhiaro.co.uk/.

Don Marti (CafeMedia)

CafeMedia is proud to nominate Don Marti to serve on the Technical Architecture Group.

Don is a former strategist at Mozilla and former editor of the technical open source publication Linux Journal. He works on web ecosystem and business issues including collaborative research on the impact of advances in consent management and tracking protection technology. He led the development of an experimental authorized agent service to implement user privacy preferences for Consumer Reports. Don has written for Linux Weekly News and other open source publications, and co-authored a paper on market design to incentivize software quality for the Journal of Cybersecurity.

The web is going through enormous changes for the better. Users, via browsers acting in their interests, are at the forefront of those changes. But a very small number of enormous, global corporations are pushing standards forward in ways that are to their benefit. There is no advocate within TAG for the vast majority of authors--the people and companies that make all of the amazing content and functionality that users benefit from. Don's experience as a web editor at a publishing company, at a browser, and now with an agency that works on behalf of publishers, uniquely positions him to be the voice of the author within TAG and the broader W3C. We believe it is critical that authors' interests are kept in mind as a balance to the changes driven by massive companies in the way the web works.

Thank you for your consideration.

Jordan Mitchell (IAB Technology Laboratory, Inc.)

51Degrees is pleased to nominate Jordan Mitchell to the TAG.

The Open Web as we know it is in jeopardy. The open technical standards that W3C and its members pioneered – which fueled amazing innovation in content and services for consumers globally over the last 25+ years, and a comprehensive digital supply chain – has also resulted in open data sharing, privacy challenges and a crisis of trust. How we approach these challenges going forward may very well mean the difference between an Open Web rich with continued innovation and accessibility (with privacy), or a regression to closed ecosystems involving proprietary clients and servers.

Jordan Mitchell started working with Open Web technologies in 1995, and dedicated a 25 year career as an entrepreneur on this important foundation of open standards. Jordan founded and/or built 5 commercial companies within that timeframe, then in 2016 pivoted away from capitalistic endeavors to focus on perpetuating open standards within non-commercial, non-profit endeavors. He founded, designed, and built DigiTrust, a non-profit standards initiative to consolidate the thousands of third-party cookies into a single dependency that worked better for consumers, their privacy choices, data transparency and the performance of consumer experiences. By 2018, DigiTrust was utilized by thousands of web site publishes and their trusted vendors.

Currently Jordan leads all data, privacy and identity initiatives for IAB Tech Lab, a global tech standards organization comprised of over 750 publisher, marketer and technology platform members delivering ad-supported consumer experiences – for those consumers who choose ad-supported or simply cannot afford to pay for online services. At Tech Lab, Jordan has been a tireless advocate for Predictable Privacy for consumers, and often times a contrarian voice within the advertising industry. Never before has it been more important for our industry to collaborate around new privacy standards, with system-level accountability, that offer consumers uniform transparency, control and trust across all their devices and media channels, instead of “paternalistic privacy” approaches that perpetuates confusion and lack of trust.

As an experienced consensus builder, with a deep understanding of the economic and architectural considerations impacting the web, Jordan represents many important voices that underpin the vitality of the Open Web going forward, and will bring fresh ideas and thinking.

Sangwhan Moon (W3C Invited Expert)*

Intel Corporation is pleased to nominate Sangwhan Moon to the TAG.

Over the last four years on the TAG, Sangwhan has contributed his diverse skill set to the benefit of the global W3C membership. Sangwhan has extensive hands-on expertise in the fields of machine learning, hardware connectivity, and media. His track record in these areas has been recognized widely during his past two tenures on the TAG. Without Sangwhan’s continued contributions in these fast-growing areas the TAG would be limited in its ability to guide its membership on how to extend the web platform with new capabilities in a cohesive, future-proof, and architecturally sound manner.

TAG Specification Reviews are the most visible and impactful day-to-day contributions of the TAG toward the W3C membership. Sangwhan’s deep expertise in the above-mentioned verticals combined with his thorough understanding of the web architecture has enabled him to excel at specification reviews helping the TAG fulfill its core mission and resolve complex and multifaceted architectural issues in a timely manner. His contributions and expertise in the emerging and growing important areas of machine learning and hardware connectivity will be particularly valuable given the expertise in these areas on the TAG is in short supply.

In addition to being well versed in multiple vertical technical domains, Sangwhan is also experienced with the horizontal domains and their specific requirements. As the editor of the Web Platform Design Principles that outlines a set of design principles guiding the design of web platform technologies, Sangwhan demonstrated his deep expertise in both API design and understanding of the Web architecture.

While working on Opera TV, Sangwhan implemented the accessibility infrastructure for the browser product. He has become well versed in internationalization issues related to the Web having first-hand experience as a Korean living in multiple Asian countries developing a browser and other products for the global audience.

Sangwhan’s connection with the Asian membership in the W3C has allowed him to bring the technical requirements from the Asian companies into consideration when designing the web platform for global use. The Asian perspective would be sorely missed from the TAG without Sangwhan's presence.

Given his tremendous skills and contributions in the TAG, the Intel W3C team asks the W3C membership to support Sangwhan in the coming TAG election so that the community can continue to benefit from his contributions.

Theresa O'Connor (Apple, Inc.)*

I’m Tess, the Standards Lead for the WebKit team at Apple. I’ve been involved in Web standards for fifteen years, and I’ve had the distinct honor of serving on the TAG since the AC elected me in 2018.

Design reviews are one of the primary ways in which the TAG stays connected to what’s happening & connect architectural principles to actual current work. Since being elected I’ve participated in around 100 reviews. Many of the engineers who come to us with design review requests are new to standards work, and the TAG can be the first standards body they interact with. We strive to be friendly and welcoming, and we work hard to provide folks with feedback that is both timely and impactful. Our workload has been challenging over the last two years, so we’ve put significant effort into restructuring how we work to better serve the needs of those requesting design reviews. If re-elected to the TAG, I’ll continue to help improve our timeliness & relevance while reviewing future work.

Privacy is one of the areas in which the current makeup of the TAG reflects the consortium’s focus on the users of the web. It’s been a major focus of my recent work, both inside and outside of the TAG. I’m the TAG’s editor of the Security and Privacy Questionnaire, a joint deliverable of ours with PING. I’ve focused my efforts on a top-to-bottom revision of the document to improve its clarity and readability, and on improving the collaboration between TAG and PING on this and other matters. I’m also a chair of the Privacy Community Group, which I helped to launch at the beginning of this year. It’s a vibrant CG with over 275 participants from over 100 organizations. I hope to use a second term on the TAG to help spec editors and privacy advocates find privacy-preserving ways of addressing user needs while adding necessary features to the Web platform.

As I said in 2018, I believe it’s critical for the W3C and the WHATWG to work more closely together. I’m one of the chairs of the HTML Working Group, the group on the W3C side charged with ensuring the success of the Memorandum of Understanding Between W3C and WHATWG. We’ve taken DOM to REC and HTML to CR. On the TAG, we’ve completed a number of design reviews of features defined in various WHATWG specifications, and I’d like to see us do even more to grow the relationship between these two SDOs over the next two years.

It’s essential that the folks bringing the Web to its full potential be as diverse as the global community of people who are increasingly dependent on the Web in their daily lives. I strive to approach my work on the TAG and in standards with an intersectional lens. The TAG’s Ethical Web Principles explicitly recognize our responsibilities toward marginalized communities, and my participation in both the Positive Work Environment and Inclusion and Diversity CGs is driven by my personal commitment to this. We currently have three women serving on the TAG, the most ever, and I hope the TAG becomes even more diverse this electoral cycle.

This statement has been published at <https://tess.oconnor.cx/2020/11/TAG>.

Martin Thomson (Mozilla Foundation)

Mozilla is pleased to nominate Distinguished Engineer Martin Thomson for the TAG.

Martin is a well established expert on networking, with contributions to specifications and implementations of HTTP, TLS, WebPush, WebRTC, and most recently QUIC. From this formal and practical experience, he has acquired significant expertise in the areas of privacy and security. Martin is strongly interested in ensuring that people can avoid having their online experience get out of their control, especially in ways that they can’t understand.

Martin’s contributions include:

Martin also served on the Internet Architecture Board between 2016 and 2020. While on the IAB he was responsible for the IAB’s privsec (“privacy and security”) program.

With this extensive background in internet and web technologies, Martin is particularly interested in promoting a set of technology design principles on the TAG, such as safety, user agency, and openness. The Web is a unique system that continues to change, but how it changes is guided by the people that collaboratively build the web. That collaboration requires cooperation and a system of shared principles, driven and guided by the TAG.

We believe Martin’s experience, skill set, and track record are both an excellent general fit for the TAG, and in particular bring critical expertise in networking, privacy, and security. Please join us in supporting Martin Thomson for the TAG.

Thank you for your consideration.

Lea Verou (W3C Invited Expert)

The OpenJS Foundation is very pleased to nominate and offer our support for Lea Verou to the W3C TAG. We believe that she brings a fresh perspective, diverse background and several kinds of insight that would be exceptionally useful in the TAG's work. Her statement follows, and is publicly available if you care to share it with your teams for consideration and discussion...

Hi, I’m Lea Verou. Equally at home in Web development, the standards process, and programming language design, I bring a rarely-found cross-disciplinary understanding of the full stack of front-end development.

I have a thorough and fundamental understanding of all the core technologies of the Web Platform: HTML, CSS, JS, DOM, and SVG. I bring the experience and perspective of having worked as a web designer & developer in the trenches — not in large corporate systems, but on smaller, independent projects for clients, the type of projects that form the majority of the Web. I have started many open source projects, used on millions of websites, large and small. Some of my work has been incorporated in browser dev tools, and some has helped push CSS implementations forwards.

However, unlike most web developers, I am experienced in working within W3C, both as a longtime member of the CSS Working Group, as well as a W3C Staff alumnus. This experience has given me a fuller grasp of Web technology development: not just the authoring side, but also the needs and constraints of implementation teams, the kinds of problems that tend to show up in our work, and the design principles we apply. I understand in practice how the standards process at W3C addresses the problems and weighs up the necessary compromises — from high-level design changes to minute details — to create successful standards for the Web.

I have spent over six years doing PhD research at MIT on the intersection of programming language design and human-computer interaction. My research has been published in top-tier peer-reviewed academic venues. My strong usability background gives me the ability to identify API design pitfalls early on in the design process.

In addition, I have been teaching web technologies for over a decade, both to professional web developers, through my numerous talks, workshops, and bestselling book, and as an instructor and course co-creator for MIT. This experience helps me to easily identify aspects of API design that can make a technology difficult to learn and conceptualize.

If elected, I will work with the rest of the TAG to:

Having worn all these hats, I can understand and empathize with the needs of designers and developers, authors and implementers, practitioners and academics, putting me in a unique position to help ensure the Web Platform remains consistent, usable, and inclusive.

I would like to thank Open JS Foundation and Bocoup for graciously funding my TAG-related travel, in the event that I am elected.

Jeffrey Yasskin (Google, Inc.)

The TAG has been doing stellar work over the last several years. It has reviewed a wide set of proposals to add dramatic new capabilities to the Web while improving the privacy and security guarantees that users need, and it has written guides like the Design Principles, the Security and Privacy Questionnaire, and the Ethical Web Principles to help feature developers think about known problems before asking for a review.

Alice Boxhall has been serving on the TAG for the past term, but has declined to run for re-election for outside reasons. We looked for someone to nominate who would be equally suited to continue to contribute to the TAG's work, and fortunately Jeffrey Yasskin has volunteered.

Jeffrey has significant experience in working towards consensus among disparate parties, as well as being a senior engineer with deep technical expertise. Jeffrey chaired the Library Evolution working group in the ISO C++ committee from 2013 to 2017, and has driven the Web Bluetooth API (which paved the way for several other device-access APIs using choosers for security), the Web Packaging proposal (which balances concerns from a very wide set of stakeholders across both the IETF and W3C), and most recently has been driving the Privacy Interest Group's Target Privacy Threat Model (which records the concrete trade offs we want to make between functionality and privacy, in cases where they conflict).

Jeffrey has several distinct efforts he hopes to contribute to in the TAG:

Working at Google, on Chrome's Web Standards team, Jeffrey is also uniquely placed to route TAG feedback to the Google-side teams that need to hear it and to help the TAG prioritize the pile of reviews we send them in order to have the most impact on the Chromium process for shipping new features.

Xueyuan Jia, W3C Marketing & Communications