September 2018

LIGHTest and the Historical Perspective

By Tim Reiniger, LIGHTest Advisory Board Member

I view LIGHTest as providing an essential piece of information governance infrastructure, and I compare it to the navigational aids and shipping infrastructure that have enabled maritime and commerce and governance. Since the middle ages, Europe has helped transform society by leading the movement of people, ideas, goods and technologies.

Now, however, instead of maritime law and infrastructure, we’re doing it with cyberspace. For cyberspace to operate effectively it requires individuals, commerce and government to all work together in a trustworthy manner. Navigating cyberspace requires the ability to publish and find authoritative sources for trusted information.

When we look closely at maritime law and the governance of the oceans and waterways, the infrastructure includes, for example, the ports and lighthouses, navigational tools; and seaworthy vessels. The vessels register under many different flags and operate subject to disparate legal systems.

This is the same with information in cyberspace. The privacy, security and identity requirements fall under the overall subject of information governance and are similar to the governance of the seas. In this case, LIGHTest acts as a form of navigational tool for cyber space. It’s a neutral tool that everyone can use for all manner of purposes. These could include identity management and, the publishing of trusted information from authoritative sources over time to enable cross-border data sharing by both the public and private sectors.

A significant challenge posed by the cyberspace environment is the ability to verify the accuracy of information at a given time. LIGHTest leverages the DNS and therefore is able to make it easy for individuals, corporations, and public authorities to locate trusted information over time.

Moving forward with LIGHTest, the project is looking at how it will best deployed in the overall governance of the information society. The EU deserves tremendous credit for funding this effort and realising that such a navigational tool  is of essential importance in the whole infrastructure of information governance in cyberspace.

The LIGHTest infrastructure is something that could be used by anybody throughout the world, anyone who needs to exchange information and ideas. My hope is that in the future this will become a globally adopted infrastructure.