The Linux Foundation has launched a new cross-industry project, backed by both governments and private-sector firms, focused on data privacy, the foundation said in a press release on 5 May.

Called the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation, the project aims to establish a new global standard to ensure digital trust, and to provide a trusted exchange of data over the internet. Among the founding members of the new data coalition is the Canadian Province of British Columbia, as well as Mastercard, IBM and Accenture. Other members include the R3 blockchain consortium, online lending platform Kiva, the University of Arkansas, and more.

The ToIP Foundation will use Linux’s open governance model to enable a new level of digital identity and verifiable data exchange, through the advancement of technology and governance standards for digital trust. Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, said in a statement:


“The ToIP Foundation has the promise to provide the digital trust layer that was missing in the original design of the Internet and to trigger a new era of human possibility. The combination of open standards and protocols, pan-industry collaboration and our neutral governance structure will support this new category of digital identity and verifiable data exchange.”

With the help of digital identity models, which use interoperable digital wallets and the new W3C Verifiable Credentials standard, the ToIP Foundation hopes to assist businesses in protecting and managing digital assets and data.

The ToIP Foundation is about defining something as fundamental as the transport layers of the internet itself, said Drummond Reed, Chief Trust Officer at digital identity startup Evernym. This time, however, instead of establishing trust between machines, the technology will be specifically designed to establish trust between people and organizations.

Dan Gisolfi, CTO of the decentralized identity arm of IBM Security, also voiced his opinion on the need of standards:

“Many privacy focused innovations are now being developed to solve this challenge, but there is no ‘recipe book’ for the exchange of trusted data across multiple vendor solutions. The new Trust over IP Foundation marks an evolutionary step which goes beyond standards, specs and code, with the goal of creating a community-driven playbook for establishing ‘ecosystems of trust’.”