Digital Identity: A Primer
By going online and interacting with companies in the real world that digitize their records, you are creating a comprehensive digital identity. Your data – medical, financial, and personal – has been recorded and stored without much say by you as to how it’s subsequently used. Instead, it is largely controlled by the institutions with which you interact: the DMV, the doctor’s office, the bank, social media platforms, search engines, and shopping websites.
Reasons for data sharing can range from the seemingly benign to the obviously problematic. Search engines track users’ search histories to show them targeted advertisements. Genetic testing sites could sell anonymized information to insurers. Phone companies could pass user location data to law enforcement.
Even more worrisome, much of our critical information is warehoused online in centralized databases, leading to hacks that have exposed millions of people’s data to those who would use it to steal their assets and their identities. As the globe becomes increasingly digitized, information and identities are more likely to become compromised and exploited. It’s time for a better way.
Blockchains is building a digital identity and reputation solution to safeguard access to consumers’ personal data, such as financial documents, medical records, and other identifying information.
The system will be designed to securely bind your data to your unique physical identity, and the application will hash and encrypt individuals’ personal identifying information. That data will then be stored on a blockchain, where you, and no one else, will be able to manage access to it – or specific portions of it.
The benefits of the solution go beyond end-to-end encryption and user protections and control: It involves creating a self-sovereign identity that is portable and interoperable across systems. Regardless of the context of any peer-to-peer interaction or transfer of data, the system’s built-in reputation system will help people – whether they be the unbanked or a potential victim of credit card fraud – verify they are genuine and trustworthy parties in any transaction.