Mar 11, 2022 in Member Spotlights by DIACC

Spotlight on CIRA

1. What is the mission and vision of CIRA?

As a nonprofit organization, CIRA’s mission is to build a trusted internet for all Canadians. Leveraging more than 30 years of experience managing .CA domains, CIRA offers one of the world’s most advanced back-end registry solutions and operate one of the fastest-growing country code top-level domains (ccTLD) in the world. CIRA researches and develops new technologies and solutions that help increase the security and resilience of the internet; mitigate and respond to cyber-attacks; and support new network, data, and security standards around the world. We also participate in global internet governance and advocate for a variety of internet issues in Canada such as access to broadband internet, privacy and security. Their Community Investment Program provides more than $1 million in grants every year to projects that help create a better internet.

2. Why is trustworthy digital identity critical for existing and emerging markets?

We are going digital in all aspects of our lives and it’s important to have trust in our own ecosystem. CIRA believes that to build a competitive, safe, inclusive society for all Canadians; governments, organizations, businesses and the public need to trust that credentials created in a decentralized identity model are indeed from an authentic source.

Citizens who access services by authenticating with digital identity credentials have an expectation that the intermediary organizations responsible for performing the authentication will keep their personal information secure. Organizations involved in this chain of trust must adhere to a strict governance framework with clear rules for the collection, storage, and usage of personal information. Such a governance structure must be replete with accountabilities, checks and balances, and an audit function to ensure strict adherence. Ultimately, public trust in any system hinges upon user buy-in to the governance structure.

3. How will digital identity transform the Canadian and global economy? How does your organization address challenges associated with this transformation?

We have seen incredible changes and significant economic advantages over the last two decades with the move to online service delivery. Critical issues have risen, from trust to privacy and security. CIRA believes that the evolution of privacy-enhancing, security-respecting, models for the delivery of digital identity is a key foundational requirement for the next stage of evolution. They believe that the approach to establishing trust anchors for decentralized digital identity may benefit from CIRA’s expertise in running one of the largest digital registries in the country and our experience in managing Canada’s DNS infrastructure.

CIRA believes that some important parallels can be drawn between the governance and international alignment in the management of the internet and maybe applicable to some of the issues we see with emerging decentralized identity models. W may be able to draw on our experience to help contribute to the next evolution of digital identity

4. What role does Canada have to play as a leader in this space?

Canada is an advanced digital society and has contributed to the development of standards, policy and governance in all aspects of technology. Trust is very important not just nationally but internationally as various aspects of business and personal rely on digital identity. Trust is one of the core values in which Canada implements its innovative projects around the world and our capacity to be thought leaders is driving forward the creation, development and adoption of digital identity.

CIRA believes that community initiatives such as DIACC and other public and private sector collaborative forums in Canada, along with the presence of thought leaders and very significant contributors to the evolution of digital identity make Canada uniquely positioned to be a significant contributor to the continued evolution of digital identity.

5. Why did your organization join the DIACC?

CIRA believes that the significant issues we are seeing with trust in digital Identity and the important principles in the philosophy embedded in decentralized identity are critical to the continued evolution of a healthy digital economy. Further, the CIRA’s decades of experience in managing the .CA domain registry on behalf of Canadians—which is at its core a form of digital identity—will positively contribute to community efforts to advance the state of digital identity and the digital economy as a whole.

6. What else should we know about your organization?

CIRA also has an innovation hub called CIRA Labs with a focus on leveraging our DNS expertise and managing their large network footprint, data centers and servers globally. They have been managing Canada’s original digital identity registry, the .CA domain name registry, on behalf of Canadians for more than 30 years. CIRA believes that the internet is an overwhelming force for good in the world, and with the right vision and collaborations, Canada can be a leader in its continued success.