FindBiometrics president Peter O’Neill recently spoke with Travis Jarae, CEO of One World Identity (OWI). The conversation begins with a look at the organization’s Google-based origins before delving into what to expect at OWI’s inaugural K(NO)W Identity Conference, it’s potentially controversial headlining keynote speaker, and how discussions of privacy will be handled at the groundbreaking industry event.
Read the full interview with Travis Jarae, CEO, One World Identity:
Peter O’Neill, President, FindBiometrics (FB): You are the founder and CEO of One World Identity. What were the drivers that led you to start this? How did it all come about?
Travis Jarae, CEO, One World Identity (OWI): One World Identity was born from a research project at Google that included me and Dasha Cherepennikova, OWI’s executive director. The objective of that project was to conduct research and potentially build a solution that enables identity verification for the next billion users residing in emerging market countries. This project, which we naively went into thinking we had the answer before we started, launched us on a very unexpected journey. We talked to anyone and everyone who would spend time with us. Once we ran out of people who work on identity and payments, we switched to individuals who work on identity and access management, then healthcare, then energy, etc. Once we got out of finance/payments bubble, we were hit with the notion that identity is horizontal – a core function to everything. Something that enables and also disables.
Throughout the entire project, we were consistently surprised at how similar, but different, the conversations we were having with folks in their respective industries that by the time the research project finished we knew that this nascent identity industry needed neutral cross-industry and cross-sector collaboration and communication – that’s where OWI comes in.
FB: One of the cornerstones is the K(NO)W Identity Conference, which is occurring in Washington D.C. on May 15-17. I’m very pleased that FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World are involved with you on that, but please take a minute to tell our readers about this truly ground-breaking global identity event?
OWI: Absolutely. First, I’d like to say that we are very excited to have both FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World there. The K(NO)W Identity Conference is a unique convening of the world’s most influential organizations and smartest minds across all industries to shape the future of identity. There are several other events out there that focus on a particular trend or vertical with some identity-related content sprinkled in throughout the programming, but nothing that covers content across the entire identity landscape the way we do. For example, you might go to a payments conference, and there will be a few tracks on KYC and identity verification, or you might go to a mobile conference, and there are a few tracks on accessibility and biometrics.
FB: I was exploring your speaker lineup, and it is quite large and very broad. I was pleased to see the diversity of it. Edward Snowden as a keynote, tell us a little about that?
OWI: We are extremely proud of our lineup of exhibitors and speakers. As you know, we have just announced Edward Snowden as our opening keynote. We decided that he, regardless of the controversy surrounding his name, was and is a major catalyst for discussion in the identity space. He will be joined by Frank Konieczny of the U.S. Air Force, Carmi Gillon of Cytegic Cybersecurity, and one more to be announced shortly. Our attendees can also expect interesting presentations and exciting panel discussions from David Birch, Steve Wilson, Pascal Bouvier, Ori Eisen, Ian Glazer, Rainey Reitman, Vinny Lingham, and Jeremy Grant, to name a few.
In addition to some fantastic presenters and panelists, we have some amazing sponsors, exhibitors, and activities planned during the event. For example, we’ve teamed up with BBVA to host their Open Talent Competition finals for identity, as well as a hackathon. IBM will also host an interactive demo of their new identity technologies, and over 30 start-ups will be present pitching to VCs looking to invest in identity companies.
FB: We have always advocated that it is essential for the industry to have privacy represented as part of the discussion. Is privacy also a focus at your show?
OWI: Absolutely. The identity industry needs honest conversations around accessibility, security, and privacy. Historically, the discussions have focused on accessibility and security, with privacy taking a backseat. More recently, with groups like WikiLeaks and the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), privacy has started to become a major consideration in the development of identity solutions. We are extremely fortunate to have privacy advocates Rainey Reitman and Jamie Williams, in addition to Edward Snowden, participating in this year’s discussions.
FB: Travis, I think you are off to an excellent start. I believe that it is a very important time for all of the vertical markets to be discussing identity in a more meaningful fashion. So, congratulations on bringing this all together and I look forward to seeing you in Washington in mid-May.
OWI: Thank you very much, Peter. You are a force in the biometric space, and we are privileged to be working with you. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of the FindBiometrics and Mobile ID World family in D.C.