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[VCTF] ID2020, United Nations, and press releases

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2016 11:56:41 -0400
Message-ID: <574F05B9.3050600@digitalbazaar.com>
To: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>, Web Payments IG <public-webpayments-ig@w3.org>
Microsoft, Consensys, and Blockstack recently made a series of product
press release announcements that made it seem like the release was in
collaboration with the United Nations ID2020 initiative and addressed a
number of use cases that the Verifiable Claims Task Force, the Internet
Identity Workshop, and the Rebooting Web of Trust Workshop are working on:


This press release was not cleared by the United Nations or ID2020.

This is a reminder to members of our community that you SHOULD NOT
approach your product press releases in this manner. I am certainly not
speaking for the United Nations or ID2020 in any way shape or form, but
here's some friendly advice:

1. All press releases that imply a collaboration with the United
   Nations and/or ID2020 and/or any other company MUST be approved by
   those organizations.
2. Do not claim that your products solve the global identity problem
   or work for refugees, or reduce human trafficking unless you have
   some really good data proving those statements to a very high
   degree of certainty.

Here is why it's premature to make announcements tied to ID2020:

1. We don't have a clearly articulated technical problem statement yet,
   so claiming to have solved the problem is premature.
2. We don't have a clearly articulated set of requirements yet, so
   claiming that your product addresses the problems raised at
   ID2020 is questionable at best.
3. We haven't passed the technical requirements that we do have
   by those in the field yet, so we haven't even tested our theories.
4. We have no pilot projects deployed in the field yet, so we can't
   say that we've identified particular products that work yet.

To be clear, I don't think there was any malice intended at all - just
unchecked exuberance coupled with a badly coordinated/cleared press
release. ID2020 is a 15+ year initiative, please refrain from using it
as a spring board for product advertising or saying that you've "solved"
the problems raised at ID2020. Those that are involved in that
initiative have a very long road ahead of them. As a community, I think
we want to help, but we start to help by addressing items #1-#4 above.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: The Web Browser API Incubation Anti-Pattern
Received on Wednesday, 1 June 2016 15:57:05 UTC

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