Decentralized ID

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Full Title or Meme

A means to distribute the sources of Identifiers and Attributes while giving more choice to Users.

Context

  • Distributed ID is a somewhat different concept in that it envisions an identity which is broken into may pieces that are hosted by many different authorities and only brought together in a Relying Party upon User Consent.
  • The current paradigm in open identity is for each conforming Relying Party to provide a list of Identifier or Attribute Providers that the User could chose from to allow access.
    • In this model it was up to the Relying Party to establish a link and share a secret with the Identifier or Attribute Provider in advance of any transactions.
    • It also required the user to pre-register with one or more of those providers, typically one of the big social sites, like: Google, Microsoft or Facebook.
  • The current most common protocol for some sort of a Distributed Identity was OpenID Connect which included Self-issued Identity, but that concept never succeeded in the marketplace.
  • Now other organizations believe that they can succeed where the OpenID foundation failed.
  • Every one knows the problem with identities on the internet. They are not under the control of users, who are extremely interested in their own Identity and want their own Privacy.

Problems

  • The big problem is Trust where there are no standards or examples of any trust without a history of trusted behavior.
  • Beware of time-stamping services posing as trust anchors. Bellcore created such a service in the early 1990 and spun it off into a separate company in 1994.[1] None of these services provide any trust in the contents of the documents.
  • Proof of Persistent Identity must be provided. This can be little more than the inclusion of a public key in a blockchain, but that cannot provide any Assurance of protection of the Credential.

Solutions


Self-sovereign identities seem to be the answer to all parties' concerns. [3] The only problem with it that I can see is that no one seems to know exactly what it is or how it might work. MIT has started an open source effort to build something[4] but no one seems to know what.

References

  1. Decentralized Digital Identities and Blockchain perspective from Microsoft
    1. BELLCORE SPINS OFF NEW COMPANY TO OFFER DIGITAL NOTARY (TM)(SM) SERVICE http://seclists.org/interesting-people/1994/Mar/100
    2. Decentralized Identity Foundation working groups http://identity.foundation/working-groups
    3. Ian Glazer, Why self-sovereign identity will get adopted (and it’s not the reason you probably want) 2018-06-15 https://www.tuesdaynight.org/2018/06/15/why-self-sovereign-identity-will-get-adopted-and-its-not-the-reason-you-probably-want/
    4. Github, Developing General Principles for Sovereign Identity. https://github.com/mitmedialab/SovereignIdentityPrinciples