Posted by Cirrus Customer Success on Jul 20, 2023 11:38:23 AM

How Was TNC Mary McKee?

TNC is the largest and most prestigious research and education networking conference.  Hosted by Géant, it attracts a diverse audience of over 800 participants from more than 70 countries.  In 2023, it was hosted in Tirana, Albania.  Mary McKee represented Cirrus Identity and shared the ABC’s:


Australian Access Federation's presentation on hosted IdPs rang true: institutions of higher education are embracing options that allow them to outsource as much management as possible.

Bunkers are everywhere in Albania...over 173,000 in total, according to Wikipedia!

Cookie support changes with browsers has had minimal impact so far, but larger concerns loom around the future of FedCM and expected impact to multilateral federation.

Dividing AI was an interesting pitch to provide better attribution/explanation for AI-driven decisions.  Rather than asking the AI to identify something not intuitive (like if a signature is malware), ask it to respond to also return specific traits common to malware (e.g., P2P) to help explain the decision and build confidence in the algorithm.

Eduroam Support Organizations (eSOs) seem to be really taking off in InCommon.  States are taking after the Utah and Nebraska projects to help bring eduroam to K-12 organizations.

FedCM conversations and digital wallet conversations seem to be merging in many ways - lots of speculation about whether that will continue.

GARR, the Italian network, thanked Cirrus for contributions to an open source module for SimpleSAMLphp.

Hub & spoke federation architecture is getting attention as Dutch and Croatian federations are adopting it to streamline operations.  Lots of discussion about pros and cons over mesh federation architecture.

Identity Assurance Level (IAL) implementations are becoming common among European identity organizations, and seem to largely be outsourcing document validation to third-party services.

Jan Meijer represented the SimpleSAMLphp Board of Directors at the REFEDS (Research and Education FEDerations) meeting, giving a shout out to Dedra, another Board member!

Kulaç me finj is an Albanian cookie traditionally made with finj, a mixture of water and ashes from a wood stove.  It was tasty!

Lek is the currency of Albania, named after Leka, an abbreviated name for Alexander the Great!

Microsoft identity providers are making use of recent guidance to use the Cirrus Bridge with Microsoft Azure to access resources through identity federations like InCommon.

New R&E federations everywhere! (Nigeria), (catchall Africa), LIFE (Lebanon), FIEL (catchall Latin America), (Azerbaijan), MAREN (Malawi), TigerFed (Bangladesh), and SomaliREN Identity Federation (Somalia)

Optical fiber is creating exciting possibilities for ocean research, since it is sensitive enough to track whale sounds and weather patterns.

Passkey implementation is influencing how some look at WebAuthn for multi-factor authentication.  By storing credentials in iCloud keychains, we cannot consider them a unique device identifier.

Quantum key distribution is an area of security research for network engineers at GÉANT.

Rennes, France will be hosting TNC in 2024.

Shqipëria is the Albanian name for Albania, and I am still learning how to pronounce it!

Tirana offered free public transit and admission to some of its beautiful museums during the conference.  I enjoyed the museum of secret surveillance.

UK colleagues are still subject to GDPR post-Brexit, and keeping an eye on shifts that affect the compliance landscape. 

Vendors were scarce outside of booths, and it was touching to see Cirrus welcomed as a community contributor.

Wallets for digital credentials a huge topic of conversation - high hopes for increased privacy, but vital that implementation maintains separation between credential issuers and credential verifiers.

XML does not seem to be going anywhere.  Conversations about federation protocols still seem overwhelmingly focused on SAML.

Y did I think this list format was a good idea; I am losing steam quickly!

Zeal for enabling access to resources for education and research on a global scale is as strong as ever, and it's really inspiring to see representatives from so many countries coming together to make it happen!