Guest Blog: Michal Kepkowski’s Experience as a Kim Cameron Award Recipient at Identiverse 2022

Being one of the first recipients of the Kim Cameron Award is a great honour and distinction. Kim’s contribution to the identity world impacted and inspired many individuals, including me. Reading his blog and studying the laws of identity helped me advance in my professional and academic career. Therefore, for me, the reward has a special personal value.

I believe that the Kim Cameron Award program is a remarkable initiative connecting academia with the industry. Being a member of both, I can say that there is a significant gap between what is being researched and what is required in the IAM space. As a result, many young and talented researchers struggle to apply their research into real-world applications. Therefore, I firmly believe that promoting academia and industry collaboration should be a key objective for both sides. Global organisations and consortia are the perfect bodies to encourage and incubate industry research projects. That is why I would like to thank the OpenID Foundation and sponsors for taking the initiative and organising this year’s edition of the award. I hope the program will continue and help other researchers to expand their horizons of knowledge, as it did for me.

Thanks to the award I was able to participate in the Identiverse 2022 conference in Denver. I must admit that feeling the spirit of innovation was worth travelling almost half the world (on an over 16-hour flight from Sydney). The conference agenda had an abundance of insightful talks from over 150 speakers. Admittedly, it was difficult to decide which presentation to attend because there were a few simultaneous tracks. I found it particularly interesting to learn the trends and future development directions from the identity leaders during the keynote and panel sessions. On the subject of trends, my takeaways from the conference are threefold. Firstly, the identity community introduced a vision of a new passwordless world. A concept called passkeys (FIDO2 enhanced with multi-device FIDO credentials) was presented and discussed in several sessions, offering a promising first step for public adoption. A second widely discussed technology, which has the potential to revolutionise how identity is implemented, was verifiable credentials. With the recently released OpenID Connect specification to support W3C Verifiable Credentials and Microsoft’s presentations of technology, I am deeply convinced that user-centric identities will shortly reach the mainstream. Finally, the GAIN (Global Assured Identity Network) project seems to gain traction. It is an incredible work of the OpenID Foundation to make identity networks interoperable, and thus allow the use of the same identity globally (just like a credit card).

Identiverse gathers innovators and leaders from the identity industry. And, in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed networking with them. Hallway talks and social events in the evening were perfect opportunities to meet new people and exchange ideas. Listening to the various points of view on the burning issues of identity gave me a perspective on how complex and wide the IAM landscape is. Personally, I am grateful for having been able to meet all the amazing people in person.

The Kim Cameron Award definitely expanded my knowledge and allowed me to smoothly enter the community of identity professionals. Meeting OpenID Foundation members and attending the workshops made me realise the full potential of the Foundation’s work, and encouraged me to participate in its initiatives.

Michal Kepkowski
PhD Student
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia