Remembering Kim Cameron

I (Kaliya) will be working on a blog post for next week. For those of you who didn’t know Kim I’m very sad you will not get to meet him. He contributed greatly to our field. He was a good friend to many and a mentor and ally for women working in the field. His Laws of Identity shape and continue to shape our industry - in invite you to read people’s reflections to get a small sense of who he was.

Friends of the late computer scientist Kim Cameron took the opportunity of gathering at the KuppingerCole European Identity & Cloud Conference (EIC 2022, to remember Cameron, his life and contribution to digital identity and beyond via his 7 Laws of Identity.

Kim stood for all that is right in the intersection of technology and humanity.

Kim pushed constantly toward openness, inclusivity, compatibility, cooperation, and the need for individual agency and scale.

Kim might no longer update his blog, nudge identity products toward his vision or give inspiring, generous talks to audiences large and small, but his influence looms large in the identity industry – an industry Kim changed forever.

Reification. I learned that word from Kim. In the immediate next breath he said from the stage that he was told not everyone knew what reify meant and that he would use a more approachable word: “thingify.” And therein I learned another lesson from Kim about how to present to an audience.

He always made sure that everyone was welcome, he brought people in and inspired them and suggested ways for them to be stars. He was kind, in a way that few people ever are.

He spoke to us twice in 2016, first as the Keynote for our Annual Summit “Beyond the Laws of Identity” referring to his ground-breaking work and taking us through what he felt he missed when he published his Laws. Kim spoke later on the importance of the community when he received recognition as a Founder of Canada’s Digital Economy.

Kim joined us again in 2020, after he retired from Microsoft and gave a different sort of talk. His keynote at the IdentityNORTH Annual Summit was a sort of career retrospective

Kim attended nearly all the European Identity Conferences (EIC), from the very first one back in 2007, to 2019 and inspired us with his visionary, content-rich yet entertaining keynote talks and panel sessions. Have a look at his 2019 talk about privacy in the platform economy (“Turning the Web Right Side Up”, his visionary “Identity Services 2020” talk at EIC 2015, where he also reflected on 15 years

If there was ever a person one could describe as being “full of life,” it was Kim Cameron. It was impossible to be around him without laughing and learning—usually at the same time.

Kim Cameron isn’t on a mission from God, but he once played guitar with some guys who were.

Kim Cameron Memorials

I once asked Kim why there were so many Canadians working in digital identity. He replied: “Every day as a Canadian, you think ‘What is it that makes me uniquely Canadian, as opposed to being American? Whereas Americans never give it a thought. Canadians are always thinking about identity.’”

Kim’s technical excellence got him a seat at the table. His position at Microsoft gave him a big voice. But what made Kim effective was his gentle approach to technical discussions, especially those he thought might be contentious.

What I want to celebrate, however, isn’t just Kim’s thoughts and works, but his example: of how an open and generous person in a giant company can use its power for good, and not play the heavy doing it. That’s what Kim did for the two decades he was the top architect of Microsoft’s approach to digital identity and meta systems