Open main menu

Kantara Initiative, Inc. is a 501 c(6) non-profit industry consortium and professional trade association dedicated to advancing technical & legal innovation and trust framework operations related to digital identity management and data privacy.

Kantara Initiative
Kantara logo.gif
TypeInformation Technology and Services – Industry consortium and professional trade organization
FocusTrust framework operations for digital identity management and personal data privacy
OriginsFounded by members from a range of identity management industry consortia from 2001 to 2008
MethodPrograms, Recommendations, Conferences, Publications



The initiative was established in 2009 by a group of identity management (IDM) technical interoperability organizations. Responding to industry consortia fragmentation, Kantara aimed to form a unified, transparent and inclusive member organization for digital identity community stakeholders.

Kantara translates to “wooden bridge” in Kiswahili, a hybrid language between Arabic and Bantu, and that’s showcased in the bridge of Kantara’s logo. The name is attributed to Nat Sakimura of NRI, Kantara Board Director and Open ID Foundation Chair, as he spent his childhood in Africa.

In 2011, Kantara focused on serving the needs of relying parties. Kantara did so by developing and operationalizing services for federated trust frameworks. Private and public sector relying party organizations (initially from the United States, but now increasingly worldwide) joined the initiative with the goals of building identity and credential requirements and complementing the vision and missions of other industry consortia, such as Customer Commons, FIDO Alliance, IDESG, and the Open Identity Exchange.

Formerly an affiliate program under IEEE-ISTO, Kantara Initiative self-incorporated as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization consortium and professional trade association in January 2016. This change reflected the growing influence and stature of the organization dedicated to advancing technical and legal innovation and trust framework operations related to the digital identity management and data privacy. Companies within the community include CA Technologies, Experian, ForgeRock, Internet Society, Nomura Research Institute and several national governments.[1] More than sixty leading organizations, hundreds of participants, enterprise and governments make up Kantara’s members.[1][2]

What Kantara DoesEdit

Kantara drafts specifications and recommendations for industry use and maintains relationships with Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ITU-T and IDESG.

Kantara Initiative, Inc. provides an established, safe, and collaborative environment to develop and operationalize the real-world innovation necessary to support identity management and data privacy.[1]

Kantara Initiative achieves this using a two-themed development strategy; "Connected Life" to brainstorm & evolve ideas and "Trust Services" to transition the evolved ideas into operationalized programs for members. The connected life theme intersects identity, Internet of Things, and usability, where members can develop strategies and innovations for a more-connected life, while the trust services theme normalizes the outputs from connected life groups into tangible 'plumbing' to create levels of trust between ecosystem actors in federations.

Current projectsEdit

As of June 2017 Kantara completed the project of incubating the ID Pro initiative.[3] ID Pro is now a 501 (c) 6 industry association for digital identity professionals. Kantara will continue to develop the Body of Knowledge for the good of ID Pro and the community. This effort was kicked off in 2016 with an electronic pledge where digital identity professionals signify their support for a digital identity professional association and Kantara’s principles.[4]

Kantara members and non member participants continue to refine the User-Managed Access (UMA) protocol which puts control of information in the hands of the individual.[5] (UMA received the 2014 Best Innovation Security Award from the European Identity & Cloud Conference).

Kantara also collaborates with Rutgers University’s Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA), a US Department of Homeland Security University Center of Excellence, in a Program known as KIPI (Kantara Identity and Privacy Incubator) to fund applied research and advanced development of products and services with mass adoption potential, to improve cyber identity and privacy. The outputs of Kantara's collaborative efforts to develop tools for an increasingly global trusted identity and privacy services community can be found here.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "About – Kantara Initiative". Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  2. ^ "Membership – Join or Renew – Kantara Initiative". Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  3. ^ "ID Pro – Kantara Initiative". Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  4. ^ "Principles – Kantara Initiative". Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  5. ^ "kantarainitiative". Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  6. ^ "Reports & Recommendations – Kantara Initiative". Retrieved 2018-11-05.