🇬🇧👁Social Intelligence: Everybody Problem with the Self-Sovereign Digital Identity
Archive, october 31, 2018, each one digital identity
Self-Sovereign digital Identity (SSI, Self-Soverign Identity) is a social intelligence issue that invests everyone or, at least, all of those who have (knowingly or not) at least one online account : nevertheless about SSI there is little mention.
Personal identity is an individual cognitive concept that develops and delines over time through proceeding in different contexts ; nothing has to do with the identity proof provided by the papers: these are only the certifications issued by a third party, the state. While the state can also unilaterally revoke, totally, partially and arbitrarily the certification (problem however not-negligible) each, instead, has complete control over its own personal identity and may provide, in the course of its existence as he/she wants.
In the physical world they approach and disallow at will the most diverse personal, social and cultural spheres and the interactions with them make personal identity. Everyone decides independently the amount and quality of personal information to share with third parties during the various relationships.
So in the ‘physical world’ you have sovereignty over your own personal identity : although it is not perfect control, in the social you are recognized for what you are not for what a paper show (the Steven Spielberg’s film ‘The Terminal’ and the novel by Franz Kafka ‘The Trial‘ express the concept in the respective fields). Again, every time you present yourself to someone or a specific scope of interaction, with which you have already been related, you are not obliged to be recognized : you have already met for the information exchanged at that time.
In digital, this does not happen. Leaving aside, for brevity and not for importance (of the lost time), the need to be recognized each time by the same interlocutor through the login procedures (for which with each counterparty each time the interaction is as always the first) the issues in the virtual are more.
First, each counterparty has its own identifier system : so it is as if in the ‘physical world’ every time you meet someone you should not only re-introduce but, in doing so, to be recognized not for what you are but as a result of to show a paper that is different for every interlocutor. Then you have control, sovereignty, on any of the interactions that take place in digital contexts : control is demandated to third parties with hope, for now vain, of synchronous behavior with the expectations of our personal identity.
Under the first point of view the needs of login and the different identification systems are sons of digital complexity ; however, they are also a source of profit for a multitude of operators/intermediaries so standardization, elementary to current levels of technology and which would facilitate digital life, is knowingly unwanted.
Instead for the self-sovereign of the digital data the question differs. Digital information helps to form personal identity not only in the virtual but also in the real world, given the interactions between the two worlds : on it the individual has almost no quantitative control, a very poor quality control and power of action. The case is Google that quantitatively owns all the meta-data of interaction between accounts and system (and can make it what it wants, without asking for permission or to use them); qualitatively declares the account activities, interacting with the system, and does not provide any control to the request for cancellation of such activities (you have to trust the third).
Ultimating the self-sovereign on its own personal digital personal identity (but also physical, as it is a little difficult to live out-of-digital) is almost equal to zero. If in theory the issue of self waiver can be given in exchange for free services, or at least at a price that takes account of the sacrifice, at the time when the service provision ends there must be the individual possibility of exercising the self-sovereignty so that your data can no longer be used. The metaphor with the ‘physical world’ might be stalking : harassment, based on the information provided when the relationship existed, is prohibited ; in the case of the digital data the scenario is even worse, because harassment is silent and the holder of the information provided (when the relationship existed) is unaware of the continuity of improper use.
The different solutions experienced at the moment have led to nothing : in addition to the undeniable technical difficulties, the lack of political will (motivated by the secular reasons mentioned earlier) make it appear as a chimera the presence of third-party entities ‘super partes’ that can ensure the execution of the will dictated by self-sovereign. The blockchain protocol, which at start could look like a solution, is also proving its limits : the protocol meaning that fully guarantees SSI is just a ‘public blockchain’. The drawback is that if you lose your private key of your address you will lose hopelessly all the information about that address : if you talk about Bitcoin you lose money but if you talk about identity you lose much more, so you need a tech-crutch of support still to be invented.
The resulting, at trend level, is the awareness of the younger and digitized generations (from the millenium to down) of the problem and the progressive translation of digital personal identities in the deep-web, decentralized or not. The phenomenon, which began about five six years ago with texting, is expanding at the level of demand and provision of services and predictably will lead to a transformation, in better terms, of both the SSI’s management and the partial surrender models to it. At the same time, it is expected in the next five to six years and on equal terms, for current centralized big players (FAAG & co.) a crisis transfer from the current level of reputation to the level of revenue.
This post was originally published on October 31 , 2018, in Italian version on www.thescanner.info .This is adaptation of a neuronal Italian/English AI translation by IBM Watson.