Self-Sovereign Identity Principle #6: Portability

The sixth guiding principle of Christopher Allen’s Ten Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) Principles is portability. It highlights the importance of information and services and their respective transportability. According to Allen, information and services must be easily transportable and cannot be held exclusively by a centralized third-party entity. Even if a third-party entity works in the best interest of the user, there remains the issue of SPOF (single point of failure).

Using a decentralized identity protocol, individuals may easily transfer their information without fear of regime changes or systemic disruptions. Entities on the Internet can disappear at a moment’s notice. Not relying on a centralized authority to store information on behalf of individuals empowers users to transport their identity assets more readily. Portability also functions in tandem with an identity’s persistence. If informational assets are easily transportable, there is a much higher likelihood of that information being stored on multiple domains or platforms, resulting in prolonged and varied storage of that data.

How does portability fit into the bigger picture of SSI?

The fundamental premise of SSI is complete ownership of one’s identity. In order for self-sovereign identity to truly exist, the identity must be transportable, and cannot be locked down to one central location or provider. Portability ensures that one’s identity can be transferred and stored in multiple locations, at the discretion of the user.

In today’s digital identity environment, users do not completely own their identity. If a user left Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, he or she would lose all of their identity assets with each profile (i.e. posts, likes, followers, friends, etc.). In order for a true SSI to exist, a user’s identity assets must be easily transportable across different platforms and service providers.

Closing Thoughts

Identity assets and related information must be easily portable across different service providers, platforms, and networks. Ideally, the storage of a user’s digital identity assets would not be held under the exclusive provision of a centralized third-party. Through portability, users increase their chances of improving their identity persistence.

This article is sixth in a Self-Sovereign Identity Principles series the Metadium team is putting together for you. If you want to learn more please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn! Keepin App is now available on the App Store and Google Play.