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Connect.Me Joins PDEC Startup Circle


Members of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium (PDEC) Startup Circle along with Executive Director Kaliya Hamlin are attending the World Economic Forum meeting on Rethinking Personal Data today in Vienna. The Startup Circle is the initial group of companies who have come together around a shared commitment to control over personal data. A key goal of the Consortium is to bring together the architects and builders of the emerging personal data ecosystem to ensure that it results in an interoperable system that gives individuals control over what the World Economic Forum refers to as “a new asset class“.

“Connect.Me is deeply committed to the development of a personal data ecosystem and we are a big supporter of the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium,” said Connect.Me co-founder and CEO Joe Johnston. “Connect.Me is energized to be a founding member of the PDEC Startup Circle, and we look forward to working with the other Startup Circle companies and other PDEC supporters to provide the network services that will be critical to interoperability.”

Connect.Me made a key contribution to the ecosystem with its announcement last month of publishing the Respect Trust Framework with Open Identity Exchange (OIX). This work was honored with the Privacy Award at the European Identity Conference in Munich on May 10. “Individual control over personal data must have a solid legal foundation, and that’s the purpose of the Respect Trust Framework,” said Connect.Me co-founder and chairman Drummond Reed. “It will be the basis for all of Connect.Me’s peer-to-peer vouching and personal data sharing services, and we believe it can serve as a broadly interoperable legal model for personal data sharing.”

Mr. Reed gives particular credit for the Respect Trust Framework model to Scott David of K&L Gates, it principal legal architect. “Scott included an analysis of 16 different Fair Information Practices Principles (FIPPs) from different jurisdictions around the world, and mapped them all to the five core principles of the Respect Trust Framework,” said Mr. Reed. “This groundbreaking analysis shows we can find common legal ground globally for the fair and ethical exchange of personal data under personal control.”

PDEC will serve as the first industry association devoted exclusively to the emergence of a personal data ecosystem and the new economic opportunity it offers. It will offer its members news; industry research, intelligence and analysis; and channels for technical conversations including meetings and conferences. For more information see the PDEC FAQ.

Twitter Tagging App to Build Community Contexts

Thank you for your interest in Connect.Me. We’re excited to start unveilling what we’ve been building.

With the May conference schedule (IIWEICPII) behind us, we’re now racing ahead towards the upcoming private beta launch of Connect.Me.

Connect.Me is all about bringing context and reputation to your social world.

To get started with context, we launched a simple Twitter tagging web app for you – our early adopters – to identify people and contexts that are important to you.

The tags are being used to seed our initial community platform, launching soon in private beta. Tagging is also a fun way to let people know you respect them on Twitter.

In order to make tags meaningful, we currently require you to tweet in order to tag someone. This provides a bit of social currency to prevent negative tags while creating contexts our users actually care about.

See if you’ve been tagged.


Can I remove a tag?

Yes. Just contact us on our feedback site and we’ll remove the tag for you from the tagging web app. When the Connect.Me community platform launches, you’ll have full control over your contexts.

Is Connect.Me crowdsourcing personal contexts?

Yes. Every user of Connect.Me is helping develop the set of community contexts, starting with the #hashtags on the tagging web app.

If I have more questions, what’s the best way to ask?

Drop us a note on our feedback site or email us directly at


Connect.Me at pii2011 Innovator’s Spotlight


Fresh off winning the Privacy Award at the European Identity Conference last week in Munich, Connect.Me will be featured in the pii2011 (Privacy/Identity/Innovation 2011) Innovator’s Spotlight next Thursday May 19 at the Santa Clara Marriott. Connect.Me will be one of 12 startups sharing the cutting edge of innovation in the Internet identity, privacy, and personal data space.

The Innovator’s Spotlight session will run from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, followed by the Innovator Showcase happy hour from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. While the main pii2011 conference is sold out, separate tickets may be available for the Innovator’s Spotlight session — see the pii2011 website for details.

Connect.Me will feature more details about the trusted member nomination process we are running in May, and the next steps to building The Personal Network as outlined in our white paper of that name published last week.

Connect.Me Honored to Win 2011 EIC Privacy Award

MUNICH, GERMANY (May 11, 2011): Connect.Me received the Privacy Award at the 2011 European Identity Conference last night. Presented by Kuppinger Cole co-founders Martin Kuppinger and Tim Cole, hosts of EIC, the award was given for “delivering an Innovative new approaches to managing personal identity in the Internet”. Said Mr. Cole, “Connect.Me’s Respect Trust Framework, and their new approach to building a personal trust network by layering on top of social networks and using peer-to-peer vouching is one of the most exciting developments in Internet identity this year. We can’t wait to see what they will be back reporting here a year from now.”

The award was accepted by Drummond Reed, Connect.Me Co-Founder and Chairman. “Connect.Me is truly honored by this recognition from Kuppinger Cole for this new approach to establishing a personal data ecosystem,” said Mr. Reed. “Even though Connect.Me and the Respect Network is only at the beta stage, we deeply appreciate the wonderful reception here at EIC this week of our announcement of the Respect Trust Framework being published with Open Identity Exchange — it lays the foundation for the entire network.”

The award was shared with Qiy, the innovative new personal digital identity service based in the Netherlands. As explained in Connect.Me’s new white paper, The Personal Network, the Respect Network will be a multi-provider system that will enable interoperable services from a global network of personal data service providers such as Qiy, Mydex,, and others.

Connect.Me Publishes Respect Trust Framework with OIX


MUNICH, GERMANY, European Identity Conference (May 10, 2010) — At the opening of the European Identity Conference in Munich today, Connect.Me™ announced publication of the Respect Trust Framework ™ with Open Identity Exchange (OIX). This is the first personal trust framework designed to give individuals control over the sharing of their personal data on the Internet, mobile phone networks, social networks, and other online forums.

The Respect Trust Framework will be the foundation for Connect.Me, a social discovery network that works across popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Connect.Me enables people to build their own personal trust networks by vouching for the people they respect most in the contexts they care about most. The process kicks off today on Twitter – any Twitter user can begin voting immediately for other individuals they respect following the instructions at 

A digital trust framework is a set of legal and technical rules by which members of a network agree to operate in order to achieve trust online. They are one of the key tools advocated by the recent U.S. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) for creating a safe online “identity ecosystem”. “NSTIC challenged private industry around the world to innovate new ways to increase privacy and safety online,” said Drummond Reed, co-founder and Chairman of Connect.Me. “This is one answer: a trust framework for personal data whose trust fabric is rooted in real people around the world.”

Connect.Me is delivering the Respect Trust Framework in conjunction with two key partners: the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) and the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium (PDEC). OIX was chartered in March 2010 to become the neutral international non-profit clearinghouse for digital trust frameworks. “Connect.Me chose to list the Respect Trust Framework with OIX because it specializes in open trust frameworks based on open standards,” said Mr. Reed. “We wanted to assert a person-centric trust and business model that is an equal partner with those of the industry leaders that formed OIX”. OIX Executive Members include AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, CA Technology, Equifax, Google, LexisNexis, PayPal, Symantec, Transaction Network Services (TNS), and Verizon.

“OIX offers the legal and policy tools that developers of digital trust frameworks need to effectively tackle hard online trust problems,” said Don Thibeau, OIX Board Chair. “We are pleased Connect.Me selected OIX to list the Respect Trust Framework and to host the Respect Trust Framework Working Group, which will work closely alongside our Legal Analysis Working Group.”

The Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium (PDEC) was founded to be the “voice of the individual” in developing infrastructure and policies to help people protect and realize the value of their personal data online. “The Respect Trust Framework means we are evolving the persona data ecosystem to help users have more trust in their social connections. And of course, Connect.Me will give us the ability to use that trust framework in a simple, convenient way,” said, Mary Hodder, Chair of PDEC. Adds Kaliya Hamlin, Executive Director of PDEC, “We are very excited to have one of the first products and Trust Framework launch in the personal data space.”

Another member of the PDEC Startup Circle, Mydex Community Interest Corporation based in London, announced its intention to utilise the Respect Trust Framework in the launch of its live personal data service envisaged for Autumn 2011. William Heath, Chairman of Mydex said, “The thinking that has gone into the Respect Trust Framework is wholly consistent with Mydex’ aims as a Community Interest Company. The viral approach takes is a powerful complement to Mydex’ work to deliver real convenience and utility to the individual.”

“Connect.Me welcomes collaboration with Mydex and the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium to promote adoption of the Respect Trust Framework,” said said Joe Johnston, co-founder and CEO of Connect.Me. “We believe a personal trust framework will be as essential to the success of the personal data ecosystem as financial trust frameworks have been to the success of the global credit card systems.”

According to Scott David of K&L Gates, principal legal architect of the Respect Trust Framework, digital trust frameworks may be designed to work only in one country or industry, or to work across all jurisdictions. The Respect Trust Framework is the latter — it based on a set of universal principles of respect for personal data, and thus can be adapted to the privacy and data protection regulations of many different countries and industries. To that end, it includes an Exhibit that cross-references the five core principles of the Respect Trust Framework to 18 instances of Fair Information Practices Principles (FIPPs) from around the world including Canada, Sweden, the EU, the United States, and Asia.

Connect.Me has published a white paper explaining the Respect Trust Framework and how it enables a personal data ecosystem. Entitled The Personal Network: A New Trust Model and Business Model for Personal Data, it is available on the Connect.Me website at

The Respect Trust Framework will undergo a 30 day public review period before formal opening of the Connect.Me network. Public comment is welcomed at the discussion forum hosted by PDEC at Twitter users can begin nominating other Twitter users beginning immediately by following the instructions at


About Connect.Me

Connect.Me is a San Francisco-based startup launching the first social discovery network that works across all popular social networks, starting with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Connect.Me enables people to build their own personal trust networks by vouching for the people they respect most in the contexts they care about most. The Connect.Me network is based on the Respect Trust Framework, the first personal trust framework that gives individuals control over the personal data they share over the Internet, mobile, or social networks. For more information, visit or follow Connect.Me on Twitter at @respectconnect.


Media Contacts:

At European Identity Conference:
Drummond Reed


New York:
Dean Landsman


Seattle/San Francisco:
Marc Coluccio


The Respect Trust Framework™

[UPDATE: Version 1 Beta of the Respect Trust Framework, incorporating feedback received since the Public Review Draft published in May, was listed with Open Identity Exchange on August 15, 2011, and Version 1 Beta 2 with minor operational policy updates was listed February 29, 2012.]

Connect.Me published Public Review Draft #1 of the Respect Trust Framework with Open Identity Exchange (OIX) on May 10, 2011.


The purpose of the Respect Trust Framework is to define a simple set of principles and rules to which all members of a digital trust network agree so that they may then share identity and personal data with a high degree of confidence that it will be safe and only used as authorized.


  • Promise: Every member promises to respect the right of every other member to control the identity and personal data they share within the network and the communications they receive within the network.
  • Permission: As part of this promise, every member agrees that all sharing of identity and personal data and sending of communications will be by permission, and to be honest and direct about the purpose(s) for which permission is sought.
  • Protection: As part of this promise, every member agrees to provide reasonable protection for the privacy and security of identity and personal data shared with that Member.
  • Portability: As part of this promise, every member agrees to ensure the portability of the identity and personal data shared with that Member.
  • Proof: As part of this promise, every member agrees to share the reputation metadata necessary for the health of the network, including feedback about compliance with this trust framework, and to not engage in any practices intended to game or subvert the reputation system.


The Respect Reputation System

The Respect Trust Framework is made self-reinforcing through use of a peer-to-peer reputation system called the Respect Reputation System™.


The Respect Promise™


The Respect Promise is the contractual commitment made by and among members upon joining the trust network that establishes mutual duties and benefits among all members as expressed by the statement:

“I promise to uphold the purpose, principles, and rules of the Respect Trust Framework.”

Whitepaper: The Personal Network

The Personal Network: A New Trust Model and Business Model for Personal Data

By Drummond Reed & Joe Johnston, Connect.Me; Scott David, K&L Gates


Executive Summary

The explosive growth of social networks has created an entire social layer for the Internet, changing its very role in society. This white paper explores the emergence of the next layer: the personal network. It explains the legal and economic reasons personal networks differ from social networks and introduces the Respect Trust Framework, the first trust framework designed expressly for personal data. It steps through how the core components of personal networking—trust anchors, contexts, and person-to-person contextual vouching—are woven together to create a strong, resilient trust fabric. Finally it covers the business model for personal networks and why it differs markedly from the advertising-driven model of social networks.

Full Whitepaper Attached.

Download this file



An Uplifting Week; An Upcoming Announcement


The Connect.Me team (or rather, those not coding their hearts out) spent this week at the Internet Identity Workshop in Mountain View, CA. This one-of-a-kind open space event is literally where user-centric Internet identity infrastructure is being forged, with another swing of the hammer every six months for six years running.

And as always, each one is bigger, better, and more intense than the last. Particularly so for the Connect.Me team this year because we were previewing the Respect Trust Framework, from which we have been blogging about the five Principles of Personal since opening our beta signup before SXSW in March. The reception was everything we hoped for, which gives us great excitement heading into a press conference scheduled for next Tuesday at noon CEST (6AM Eastern, 3AM Pacific) at the opening of the European Identity Conference in Munich.


Of course we’ll also post the announcement here, but for up-to-the-second news that day, we recommend watching @respectconnect on Twitter.

The Fifth Principle of Personal: Proof


This is the fifth and final post in a series about the Principles of Personal. See also:

When New Zealander Phil Sole pulled off the feat of guessing all five Principles of Personal after only our second blog post, what most surprised us is that he managed to guess the final “P”: Proof. After all, what does “proof” have to do with personal networking?

The answer is “everything” if you frame the question this way:

If the first four Principles of Personal are a promise of permission, protection, and portability, how do I know if another member of a personal network will keep that promise?

In short, you need proof—some evidence that another member of the network is going to live by that promise. Proof of past behavior, credentials and references is an essential component in trust decisions.

And for trust decisions made online, where the Internet often lacks the many trust signals present in real-world contexts, it becomes even more important. That’s why reputation systems have become nearly ubiquitous across major e-commerce, search, and social sites—everything from Google’s PageRank to eBay’s buyer/seller feedback system to Slashdot’s Karma social news moderation and Facebook’s Like button.

Social networks abound in a particular form of social proof—the friend or follower relationships that members publicly display. So a similar form of social proof should work for a personal network. The key difference is that for a personal network, where every individual has control of their own personal data (see the First Principle), the trust fabric must be rooted directly in individuals. In other words, a personal network must operate as a peer-to-peer web of trust.

However peer-to-peer trust networks have a well-known problem, the Sybil attack, named after the famous case of multiple personality disorder. In short, they can be gamed by creating fake accounts (“sock puppets”) unless the network has established a known set of trusted members called trust anchors. In conventional PKI systems, the trust anchors are usually government agencies or large companies.

But on a personal network, they must be… people.

People who share the five Principles of Personal in the Respect Trust Framework:

A promise of permission, protection, portability, and proof.

We’re excited to share that the launch of the Connect.Me trust anchor program is right around the corner.  Stay tuned for a big announcement in May.  If you want to be one of the first to know the details, please follow us on Twitter @respectconnect.

The Fourth Principle of Personal: Portability


This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about the Principles of Personal. See also:

When Phil Sole of New Zealand managed to guess all five Principles of Personal after only our second blog post, he said the following in his explanation of how he did it:

And for Portability, when I saw someone else guess it I thought it was a lock-in just because it’s such an important point.

Phil is spot on: the principle of data portability is bound into the very DNA of a personal network. The DataPortability Project (of which Connect.Me’s Drummond Reed is a founding board member) defines it this way:

Data portability enables a borderless experience, where people can move easily between network services, reusing data they provide while controlling their privacy and respecting the privacy of others.

For the User
With data portability, you can bring your identity, friends, conversations, files and histories with you, without having to manually add them to each new service. Each of the services you use can draw on this information relevant to the context. As your experiences accumulate and you add or change data, this information will update on other sites and services if you permit it, without having to revisit others to re-enter it.

For the Service Provider
With cross-system data access, interoperability, and portability, people can bring their identities, friends, conversations, files, and histories with them to your service, cutting down on the need for form-filling which can drive people away. With minimal effort on the part of new customers, you can tailor services to suit them. When your customers browse networked services and accumulate experiences, this information can update on your service, if people permit it. Your relationship remains up-to-date and you can adapt your services in response, even when they don’t visit. With mutual control and mutual benefit, your relationships remain relevant, encouraging continued usage.

Given that the starting premise of a personal network is that every member controls their own personal data via their own personal data locker, data portability is essentially wired into it. In other words, the data interchange protocols that connect lockers to each other, and to the sites and vendors with whom an individual wants a relationship, are the technical means by which that individual’s data can be portable. (Right down to the API level — see this Data Portability blog post about what that really means.) And trust frameworks will provide the legal and economic means.

As this capabilities are implmented, by Connect.Me, the Locker Project, and many other participants in the Personal Data Ecosystem, data portability will become a very significant factor in the rise of personal networks alongside social networks as online relationship management tools. Social networks have proved their value for social relationships where the sharing is largely public; personal networks will fill the need for personal sharing relationships where the privacy and portability of personal data are paramount.

Look for our final blog post on the Principles of Personal next Monday, April 25.