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W3C Credentials Community Group Launch Announcement

NOTE: This is a draft announcement that will be a part of the Credentials Community Group launch. The announcement is expected to be made public during the last week of August 2014. To be clear, this announcement WILL NOT go through the regular W3C press channels as this is a community announcement (not an official W3C one). We are exploring the possibility of multiple official corporate press releases, if your organization would like to put this document through their press release process, please notify Manu Sporny <>.

The Credentials Community Group has been launched to create a common way of storing and transmitting low-stakes and high-stakes credentials both on the Web and in the physical world. The founding members of the group include Educational Testing Service (ETS), British Computer Society (BCS), Badge Alliance, Conexxus, Standard Treasury, Accreditrust, Digital Bazaar, NBREDS, COMPANY_X, COMPANY_Y, … and COMPANY_Z.

A credential is a qualification, achievement, quality, or piece of information about an entity’s background such as a name, government ID, payment provider, home address, or university degree. The work will focus on low-stakes credentials such as community-based education, badges, and gamification of social events as well as high-stakes credentials, such as P-12 test scores, high school or high school equivalent degrees, university degrees, professional licenses, government-issued IDs, and other documents that require a high level of security and verifiability.

The creation of this group was first discussed at the W3C Web Payments workshop held this year in Paris. The ability to identify people and organizations on the Web that are involved in a financial transaction was a primary topic of concern at the workshop. Since the March 2014 workshop, the discussion around how to effectively identify the participants in a transaction has evolved into a focused set of use cases and requirements around identity. “During the discussions it became clear that in order for a payments system to be successful on the Web, the ability to identify individuals in a transaction was a primary concern.” said Manu Sporny, Chairman of the W3C Web Payments Community Group. He added “During the months following the W3C workshop, we were approached by a number of large organizations outside of the payments industry, such as government and education. After some discussion, it became clear that this credentialing problem was a concern not just in payments, but a variety of other industries that depend on strong identification of their customers.”

The charter for the Credentials Community Group elaborates on the scope of work and deliverables for the group. Joining or participating in the group is free and open to the public.

What Founding Members Have to Say About The Credentials CG

“BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, agrees that the ability to identify people and organisations on the web is of key importance for some transactions, particularly those involving payments. The BCS is fully
supportive of the W3C Credentials Community Group.” — Louise Bennett, Chair of Security and Identity Assurance, British Computer Society

“We see payments as a small use case for better credentials, and that modernized credentialing is essential to protect individuals in our digital society.” — Gray Taylor, Executive Director, Conexxus (formerly the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards)

“NBREDS is South Korea Telecom’s business partner for Direct Carrier Billing. As a payment consultant, our biggest interest is in global Web Payment standardization. Web Payments will require a trustworthy credentialing solution for the Web. We are happy to be a founding member of the Credentials Community Group and will do our best to help achieve the goal of a trustworthy global credentialing solution for the Web.” — Kyungho Cho, Assistant Manager, NBREDS Inc.

“This work is important because it gives people control over their own identities on the Web. They can prove aspects about themselves, such as their age or citizenship, to other people and organizations with ease and at low-cost.” — Dave Longley, CTO, Digital Bazaar

About W3C Community Groups

Community Groups are proposed and run by the community. Although W3C hosts these conversations, the groups do not necessarily represent the views of the W3C Membership or staff. Community Groups can help build support for future standards created as part of the W3C Process.

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