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RE: VC-HTTP-API - Unintended Consequences

From: John, Anil <anil.john@hq.dhs.gov>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 16:25:30 +0000
To: "public-credentials (public-credentials@w3.org)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BY3PR09MB8804005DD973AE33273243B5C5149@BY3PR09MB8804.namprd09.prod.outlook.com>
> The unintended consequences of the DHS program has resulted in additional cliqueinous within the W3C CCG

Actions and behaviors of others are not something any person can control, and seeking to do so is equivalent to trying to catch dust in the wind.

> with some organizations have funded implementations …


The global technical community, provided they met our eligibility requirements ( https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/svip ), responded to our open and public solicitations …

… the first time in Nov 2018 …

… the second time in June 2020 …

… and based on a VERY competitive evaluation, a cohort of companies were selected and funded in order address the set of problems that we articulated in the solicitations.
[NOTE: We are big believers in the concept of Multitracking, where we consider more than one option at a time simultaneously as a way to reduce bias, risk and enhance decision making. How that works out in practice is that we fund multiple companies simultaneously to solve the same problem. We have found that it allows us to not be trapped w/in the echo chamber of a particular organization and to actually have a variety of perspectives presented to us based on the background and life experiences of the people we interact with from a variety of companies – all of which ultimately leads to more comprehensive, thoughtful and equitable outcomes.]

>but these implementations are not completely open and available to the larger community
>There are no open implementations for reference or comparison.

This comment appears to be driven from a misunderstanding of the DHS/SVIP operating model as it has been applied to the VC/DID ecosystem. We are neutral on whether the solutions that are developed by our funded companies are open source or closed source. We are highly opinionated that they need to support open standards that enable true multi-platform, multi-vendor interoperability and we contractually require the demonstration of both standards compliance and cross-vendor interoperability.

Some of our companies work with open source, and others do not. That is *their* business decision on how they seek to be successful in the global marketplace.

What matters to DHS/SVIP is that the solutions, whether they are open source or closed source, demonstrate support for standards based interoperability AND have traction and support in the global marketplace that is used by both the public sector and the private sector. We seek and support choice in the marketplace so that, as good stewards of tax payer funds, we are not forced into solutions that lock us into a single vendor or proprietary solutions that in the long term incur significant costs – whether that is money or lack of options.

>What can DHS do to promote more openness? …more visibility? …more transparency?

We believe that by doing what we are currently doing within the constraints of our remit, we are operating in the venn/intersection between our mission priorities, the technical community’s needs, and the public interest. Always happy to discuss how we could do more provided that it does not contravene laws, policies and most importantly ethics.

Best Regards,


Anil John
Technical Director, Silicon Valley Innovation Program
Science and Technology Directorate
US Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC, USA

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Received on Tuesday, 13 July 2021 16:28:53 UTC

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