REFEDS 40, held on 16 June 2019 prior to TNC19 in Tallinn, Estonia, was the most well-attended REFEDS meeting ever. Over 100 people attended, bringing together long-time attendees and newcomers to discuss the latest in academic identity federations around the world.

Group photo of REFEDS40 attendees
Group photo of REFEDS40 attendees

The day kicked of with the traditional update on REFEDS as a whole, reviewing administrative activities like the recent Request for Quotations (RFQ) for the REFEDS Support role, and getting updates on new working groups since the last REFEDS meeting (the SP Operators Group, and the Schema Editorial Board). The REFEDS coordinators, Nicole Harris and Heather Flanagan, were particularly proud to report on the first REFEDS Distinguished Engineer program, which brought two representatives (Raja Visvanathan, INFED, and Alex Mwotil, RENU) from emerging federations to REFEDS and TNC19.

Many of the existing working groups offered their updates to the community, including a final presentation from Mikael Linden on the work of the Assurance Working Group. Mikael has shepherded that group through multiple REFEDS consultations and the publication of REFEDS Assurance Framework and the Single-Factor Authentication profile. His work and guidance in this space has been most appreciated.

The Federation 2.0 Working Group gave a taste of the type of conversation that would happen later in the week during the Federation 2.0 Workshop. Topics such as changes in technology and changes in business models are all items this group is considering as they try to help the community plan for possible future scenarios in the digital identity space. The future is unknowable, but this group is giving a solid shot at not just predicting the future, but shaping it as well.

If you have attended a TNC meeting in the past, you’ll know that the Lightning Talks track is one of the most popular tracks for the entire conference. We offered a similar session on Sunday to allow for quick, 5-minute presentations from the REFEDS community on topics ranging from what’s happening in the emerging federations in India and Uganda, an f-ticks demo, and a G√ČANT Code of Conduct update. The slides for these, and every other, session at REFEDS are available online from the meeting agenda page.

As always, the REFEDS meeting was full of relevant information that resulted in conversations throughout the week. A particular shout-out goes to a side-meeting resulting from the WebAuthn session; over 30 people attended to talk about the future of strong authentication and its potential impact on identity federations going forward.

Our next meeting will be held on the Monday before the start of Internet2’s 2019 Technology Exchange in New Orleans. See you there!