True Self-Sovereign Identity
Using the blockchain and distributed systems to liberate individual data across the digital landscape.
The world has come to discover that its beloved social media platforms and online spaces are not what they purport to be.
World leaders have been permanently banned on social platforms. Patriot movements and other grassroots communities on Facebook have been removed. Parler was shut down. Users are treated like cattle, often shadow banned if they do not “follow the rules”.
Free speech is now a form of arbitration, to which the arbiters are the gatekeepers who control access to these platforms, and the data which spring from them.
Meanwhile, online transactions are gamed by clicks and impressions. Advertising cookies are a primary way that people are surveilled. Social credit systems have been deployed around the globe. This has profoundly affected the once considered altruistic role of journalism and the mainstream media, which have become little more than a propaganda machine to advance select private and special interests.
Adding to this stark reality is the fact that 60% of identities online are now synthetic. Synthetic identities come in the form of duplicates, bots and aliases which do not represent real human beings, with reputations that can be verified.
If identities are becoming less real, how can our information be truthful and authentic?
What can be done about this? What role should the blockchain and distributed ledgers play in changing this nefarious game known as information warfare?
Underlying the role of chains and ledgers, we must recognize that blocks are simply containers of data. Chains and ledgers connect those containers of data. When properly structured, blockchains and distributed ledgers are governed by identities that not only drive points of verification, but they authenticate provenance (ownership), and any number of functions tied to smart contracts.
PRIMARY PROBLEM-SOLUTION SETS
The solutions can be vast given the real world contexts, but there are three important factors to consider.
1. SSI issues based on zero knowledge proofing.
In this scenario, self-sovereign identities use zero knowledge proofs to ask binary questions about an individual, such as if that individual is male or female, what political parties they align with, or what kind of products they like to use. The problem with these binary questions is that they seek information from predetermined choices, and neglect to recognize the inherent traits or preferences of the human being.
The way to solve this is by onboarding the individual in a physical space, protecting their biometric data, and authenticating nodes in a manner whereby the individual can share information about themselves that they deem important, whereby their identities can evolve along with their reputations.
In other words, the ways they conduct themselves authentically and ethically with others. Node authentication through blockchain or ledgered smart contracts is the best way forward.
2. Biometric issues based on Pii data, or personally identifiable information.
In this scenario, data that the body gives off through devices such as cell phones, laptops or tablets personally links the individual to predictive analytics that are often not commensurate with their physical realities, such as the ways they live and work. Further, those analytics create profiles on the individual that place them into categories that unfairly characterize them when they apply for credit, jobs, or when they wish to redeem legal matters.
A solution for this is to keep all Pii data in a self-managed reference library. That library can custodied on a custom chain or ledger. In doing so, the individual only shares the personal information they want, when they want, and with whom they want.
3. Storage issues through centralized or replicant databases.
One of the great advantages of chains and ledgers is that they bring the individual closer to the information they seek and choose to transact with.
Since the vast majority of databases containing their information are centralized and then replicated for use by various third parties, a custom chain or ledger can provide safe haven for the individual, provided that they have full autonomy over the harvesting and transfer of their own data.
Decrypt nodes using smarter contracts not only provide this autonomy, but they create a mechanism by which only the data that is necessary is shared, thereby removing redundancies or overlaps in that data. In turn, the individual is empowered to make better choices, choose better transaction partners, and build trust with people of similar reputations.
When it comes to bridging the physical and digital worlds, elements like chain of custody must be aligned with real privacy in the creation of one’s master identity.
A digital forensics expert of 30+ years, DAL Global CEO, Dawid Jacobs, took his experience solving major crimes in the police force in designing a system that would at once preempt criminality and protect innocent people in their everyday lives.
If we look at this through the lens of sharing information online, we can now see how this self-sovereign master identity system is secured and monetized through holomorphic hashing. Imagine that anything you create or share is now protected by your own master identity.
The end result is an autonomous private key that you can use anywhere, at any time, that has any of the information you wish to share, with whomever you want.
As we forge ahead in 2021, we will see many of these types of issues surface at an accelerated pace. It is our duty as technology providers to protect our fellow citizens and support online behaviors that are ethical as well as morally imaginative. Our self-managed reference library system is a giant leap forward in making the digital landscape a far better place in which to operate with this peace of mind.
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