IDLab-led community of practice publishes paper on enhancing internet trust and safety through trust registries

GATINEAU, QC – January 24, 2024 – The Digital Identity Laboratory of Canada (IDLab) released a comprehensive report today, which delves into the establishment of trust registries and their role in combating fraud, fostering the adoption of digital credentials, and enhancing Canadians’ overall trust in the internet. Sponsored by CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority…

Sponsored by CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the report is the culmination of a 6-month community of practice initiative that saw 26 organizations working together from across the public and private sectors. 

For more information on the report: 

As decentralized digital credentials start to emerge in our digital interactions, ensuring the trustworthiness of these credentials becomes paramount. 

“By providing reliable mechanisms for users to confirm the legitimacy of entities issuing digital credentials, trust registries act as a crucial risk mitigation tool, deterring malicious actors from engaging in criminal activities such as identity theft and scams,” explained Jacques Latour, Chief Technology and Security Officer at CIRA.

To tackle this issue, CIRA envisioned a pan-Canadian registry of trust registries leveraging the Domain Name System (DNS) to make it easier for an entity in one country to look up and confirm the legitimacy of another entity in another country.

Cosanna Preston-Idedia, Vice-President of Program Delivery and Government Relations at IDLab offered this example to further explain the problem:

“Say a person from a small Canadian province is travelling to Japan. She goes to a bar where she is asked to prove she is 20 or older (the legal drinking age in Japan). She produces a digital credential that proves her age, issued by the province. The Japanese bartender scans the credential and confirms that the credential comes from the province and isn’t fake, but that Japanese bartender has never heard of this province. How does the bartender know if the province is real or fake? This is the problem we’re exploring in this paper.” 

The findings from the community of practice indicate that a registry of registries could be feasible, opening the door to greater certainty in digital transactions.

The initiative demonstrates a commitment to innovation, global collaboration, and the promotion of interoperability. Preston-Idedia expressed hope that the report sparks further discussions to advance Canadians’ internet safety and contribute to Canada’s position as a key digital partner on the global stage. 

“The culmination of discussions and initiatives within the community of practice has paved the way for additional explorations. The report proposed two paths forward that exemplify our commitment to harnessing innovation and positioning Canada as a global leader in digital trust,” Preston-Idedia said.

The proposed next steps outlined in the report aim to enable participants to drive greater certainty, paving the way for a more trusted digital ecosystem. As the internet continues to evolve, initiatives like these play a vital role in safeguarding Canadians and fostering a secure online environment.

About the Digital Identity Laboratory of Canada (IDLab)

IDLab brings people, organizations and governments together to tackle the big issues involved in the creation of safe, seamless and secure digital credentials in Canada. Our unbiased team of specialists tests and experiments with governance and technology models designed to leverage digital credentials in Canadians’ day-to-day lives. Our work supports efforts to ensure various solutions work across the country and internationally. We believe the best solutions will require a collaborative approach with multiple participants across the economy and we’re committed to facilitating just that.

About CIRA 

CIRA is the national not-for-profit best known for managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. As a leader in Canada’s internet ecosystem, CIRA offers a wide range of products, programs and services designed to make the internet a secure and accessible space for all. CIRA represents Canada on both national and international stages to support its goal of building a trusted internet for Canadians by helping shape the future of the internet.