Summary of IC

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The purpose of Identity Commons is to support, facilitate, and promote the creation of an open identity layer for the Internet -- one that maximizes control, convenience, and privacy for the individual while encouraging the development of healthy, interoperable communities.

Facilitating broad community dialogue and increasing the diversity of perspectives in the emerging field of user-centric identity is a unique and critical role that Identity Commons currently plays. This role is becoming even more important as the community grows and the vision of a decentralized, user-centric identity layer for the Internet comes closer to reality. Identity Commons must continue to to create opportunities for both innovators and competitors, for both the big guy and the small fry to come together in a safe and balanced space.

Identity Commons fulfills this role in a variety fo ways. Continuing gatherings such as the Internet Identity Workshop and Identity Open Space are natural next steps. Doing such gatherings under the auspices of IC enables organizers to leverage common operational resources while focusing their energies on bringing the right people and content to these gatherings. IC can also play a supportive role for other ad hoc gatherings both face-to-face and online as well.

On the technical side, IC can be a voice for multiple, interoperating and possible competing identity standards and reputation networks. IC encourages the development of systems that achieve zero customer lock-in, thus always providing users of identity systems the choice to move without risk of losing the accumulated fruit of their labors / participation. Further, IC can assist efforts to create the transparency in the operations of the identity systems and their associated services, so that users who are not as technically adept can feel secure in their actions.

Identity Commons is open, inclusive, and bottoms-up, community of groups. We share an agreement and agree to abide by a set of principles to help assure this. Membership resides in the Community Groups. There is a Stewards Council - with a representative from each group.

We provide a minimal structure for supporting community activities, and we hold space for the entire community to collaborate, and facilitate dialogue. Identity Commons, inspired by the core principles of Chaordic Commons, consists of Working Groups and a Stewards Council. The basic structure has been referred to as an "upside down umbrella" because the vast majority of the activities and decision-making occur within the Working Groups, which have tremendous autonomy -- so much so that a Working Group can be a complete separate legal or social entity whose own charter or incorporation need not make any mention of Identity Commons.

The Principles of Identity Commons:

1. Self-Organization. Enable any working group to self-organize at any time, on any scale, in any form, around any activity consistent with the Purpose and Principles.

2. Transparency. Fully and transparently disclose the Purpose and Principles of each working group, any requirement of participation, and any license or restriction of usage of its work product.

3. Inclusion. Conduct deliberations and make decisions by bodies and methods that reasonably represent all relevant and affected parties.

4. Empowerment. Vest authority, perform functions, and use resources in the smallest or most local part that includes all relevant and affected parties.

5. Collaboration. Resolve conflict without resort to economic, legal, or other duress.

6. Openness. Conduct, publish, and archive communications in a manner that facilitates open and trusted interactions within and across all working groups and the public Internet.

7. Dogfooding. When feasible and appropriate, employ the work product of Identity Commons working groups to facilitate the operation and interaction of Identity Commons itself.

Working Group Descriptions]