ICYMI: KNOW 2019 Recap


It’s a wrap, KNOW 2019 is in the books. This year’s show featured 50+ sessions, 70 exhibitors, and 1,200+ delegates at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. If you missed this year’s show, make sure to be in attendance next year, but also lucky for you we have pulled together several of the key highlights:

Product Announcements

There were two major product announcements made at KNOW 2019:

KNOW kicked off with a demonstration of Breach Clarity – a new tool jointly developed by Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and Futurion aimed at giving consumers a greater degree of transparency around the risks associated with data breaches, and the next steps individuals can take to mitigate damage. Breach Clarity later went on to win the $10,000 grand prize at the KNOW 2019 Startup Pitch Competition. We look forward to tracking both initiatives throughout the year and checking in on them at KNOW 2020.

During the Tuesday morning keynote, Charlie Walton, the SVP of Digital Identity at Mastercard announced the release of a new paper “Restoring Trust in the Digital World,” which presents a framework for how they believe digital identity will work going forward. This is a major step forward for Mastercard, as they have now asserted a strong position on their digital identity strategy.

Keynote Recap Corner

Roger Dingledine, president and co-founder of the Tor project, kicked off the Monday afternoon keynote with a bang. He asserted strong perspectives on the importance of privacy specifically for consumer-focused projects – “”Technology is neutral” is bullshit. Technology is inherently political.” Roger’s sentiments and candor on controversial topics were the talk of the town for the rest of the conference.

Colleen M. Manaher, Executive Director – Planning, Program Analysis and Evaluation U.S. Customs and Border Protection, outlined the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to enable frictionless biometric identity verification for travel. She argued that active private sector participation is at the core of effective, secure, and privacy-preserving identity processes enacted by governments.

On Wednesday morning, David Birch, Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion and KNOW 2019’s emcee, galvanized the audience with an impassioned speech suggesting World War 3.0 has already begun: “It’s just that this time we’re in a cyberwar and our identity infrastructure needs to support mobilisation across virtual and mundane realms. World War 3.0 has already started but a lot of people haven’t noticed because it’s in the matrix.”

New Programming Formats

Master Classes: On Sunday, a series of exclusive master classes were debuted as a new edition to programming for KNOW 2019, bringing identity professionals from various industries together to share lessons learned from the front lines. The topics discussed ranged from Yubico and Netflix giving presentations on “The death of the Password,” and self-sovereign identity experts giving a full set of crash courses on the emerging field.

Debates: Innovation to our programming continued with our first-ever formal debate – pitting two teams of experts in KNOW 2019’s very first debate! The topic under question was “should facial recognition be the future of biometrics.” The lively discussion featured competing perspectives on which biometric modality will win the race to the future. After several friendly exchanges the overall sentiment.

Lightning Talks: In an effort to keep the audience on their toes,  Lightning Talks are a series of 6-minute talks/presentations by different speakers, each introducing a topic or idea very quickly. This new programming format was intended to give presenters an opportunity to highlight key details of their recent work.

KNOW 2019 showcased an industry in flux. Greater numbers of large enterprises are beginning to view identity as a discrete problem that needs to be solved at scale – so this year we saw an increased volume of sharing economy and government players like Airbnb, Uber, and CBP come to this forum with the explicit goal of expanding their industry partnerships and identity technology stacks.

At the same time, we saw our highest-ever participation of startups under three years old. Identity is growing on both sides, and KNOW is where they come together – make sure to come next year’s show to see what we have in store for 2020!