Federation Trust Registry

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Full Title or Meme

Wherever a Web Sites wishes to take advantage of the benefits of belonging to a Federation it needs to be exposed in a Data Service that allows any user to ensure that the Web Site has been Validated by the Federation, or, at the very least, subscribed to the federation's principles.


Several variations on the theme of a Federation Trust Registry exist already.

  • Trust Services of TSCP the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (mostly focused on NATO A&D industry).
  • UK Open Banking (focused on UK banks and payment processors) Trust Registry is run by the FCA.
  • Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) (focused on the US Health Care community.)[1] See the page on TEFCA.

When a US federal federal agency's mission requires that it disseminate controlled unclassified information (CUI) to non-executive branch entities, but prohibits it from entering into a contractual arrangement, the agency is nevertheless directed to seek the entity's protection of CUI in accordance with Executive Order 13556, Controlled Unclassified Information, or any successor order, and the CUI Program regulations, which include requirements to comply with NIST SP 800-171.

Standards must be implemented, potentially with a profile, to ensure that the result is "as consistently as possible, follows implementation guides and authoritative best practices published by the applicable standards development organization (SDO). Minimizing variation in how standards are implemented will make it easier for others to connect to Electronic Health Information. Further, to the extent possible, Electronic Health Information stored in health IT products should be structured and coded using standardized vocabularies."[1]


  • Users and participants in an Identity Federation need to understand in real-time whether any particular web site is conformant with federation rules. Or, in other words, the user must be aware of the rules that apply to their current activity.
  • So far every solution has been one-off and not applicable to the next federation with the same general problem.
  • Most user's experience with Internet Security is sub-optimal or worse. Trust Registries might be able to address at least some of the security challenges.


There will be a Nationwide, or Global, registry of all compliant federations. That is able to answer queries about whether any Web Site is currently compliant. Queries can have specific site Identifiers or any character sting that will return a list of participants that meet the query. This services is specifically designed to be user friendly.

In order that a Federation can be expose both is principles and its membership to the public some data server needs to provide information about the existing membership and their status. There are two ways to do this:

  1. A list of the members and their status that can be viewed in a browser.
  2. A data service that exposes the contents of the site in machine readable format.

This page is about the later case.

Of primary importance for a Federation that wants to allow user's to trust the members, is some easily accessible data service on a site that meets the following criteria[2]

  1. Reliable, always-on accessibility.
  2. Meta-data descriptions of the contents of any federated Web Site.
  3. Machine readable data as well as meta-data (called Service-Enabled Data Store).
  4. Data Security
  5. Contains no User Information and does not track the user, but is expected to respond Anonymously to User queries.

Federation Profile

Each federation will need to create their own set of specifications for determining those Web Sites and Subjects that may be registered. While that could be an independent effort, this page address those federations that define a Framework Profile of the IDEF registry. Only with a single rooted tree of registries can the user be sure of the source of trust. It is possible for the federation to break the Framework Profile into separate documents for security, privacy and interoperability as UK Open Banking did.[3]

Each federation will support one or more Federation APIs that will enable any communicating Entities on the web to query the current status of each member. The Federation API page describes different sets of goals that depend on the purposes of the api, either technical or experiential.

Use Cases

Working Sample Site

The work product can be viewed at this site. The Kantara demo registry can be viewed at this site. It is currently focused on Healthcare apps.

Accreditation Services

For high assurance Trust Registries, some sort of Accreditation Service is required to evaluate the members to assurance compliance.

Example Data Elements

The following is extracted from a representative collection of existing Trust Registries.

Element Name Location Cat Recent News
iss US Health entity identifier of the issuer of the statement. If the iss and the sub are identical, the issuer is making a statement about itself.
sub US The entity identifier of the subject
iat US Health The time the statement was issued
exp US Crypto Devices National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program NIST - originally just crypto devices from FIPS 140 and now common criteria
jwks US U13 the public part of the subject entity's signing keys.
metadata US Health audience
aud US Health audience
aud US Health audience


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology, DRAFT TRUSTED EXCHANGE FRAMEWORK. (2018) Section 2 - How Will it Work p. 9ff https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/draft-trusted-exchange-framework.pdf
  2. Michael J. Carey +2, Data Services (2012-06) CACM 55 No 6 Pp. 86-97
  3. UK Open Banking OIDC Security Profile. https://bitbucket.org/openid/obuk/src/4630771db004da59992fb201641f5c4ff2c881f1/uk-openbanking-security-profile.md?at=master&fileviewer=file-view-default

External Sources