With the fallout from the pandemic accelerating digital transformation at a tempo that might have by no means been anticipated, it’s clear that we face a revolution in the way in which our private knowledge is used. On this context, it’s extra necessary that privateness is safeguarded within the midst of fast digitization. With that in thoughts, a motion in the direction of decentralized expertise is an important step ahead within the digitalization of digital id administration, writes Ivar Wiersma.
At the beginning of 2021, the federal government of Hong Kong launched a brand new biometric smartphone app offering residents with entry to over 20 completely different public companies. Dubbed iAM Smart, the app allows residents to utilise an all-in-one software to show their id and authenticate themselves, and to conduct authorities and business transactions on-line. The checklist of companies featured contains voter registration, tax funds, and COVID-19 vaccination bookings.
Hong Kong’s motion in the direction of a nationwide digital id scheme will little doubt assist seamless authentication processes that have been beforehand lumbered by cumbersome and repetitive kind filling.
Nevertheless, digital id options have traditionally raised considerations round privateness and guardianship over private knowledge. The proprietor of the info in query ought to in the end have sovereignty and autonomy over its use. This may be tough when apps resembling that constructed by Hong Kong are government-led options. In response to those considerations, the important thing to unlocking this stability between privateness and expertise lies in enterprise blockchain.
Digital id throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
Throughout the first wave of the pandemic, we noticed an unlimited improve in government-led digital id options to ‘monitor and hint’ the unfold of the virus. Norway was one of many first nations in Europe to launch a nationwide COVID-19 contact-tracing app, however utilization of the app was quickly suspended after the nation’s knowledge safety authority raised considerations that the software program poses a disproportionate risk to person privateness.
In Singapore, the TraceTogether app was rolled out in March final 12 months to trace potential publicity to the virus. The nation took this one step additional and mandated use of their nationwide digital check-in system the tip of 2020.
These tasks have enormous implications for the way in which through which delicate private knowledge about our well being and site is shared with governments and personal expertise firms. Whereas the important thing consideration for a authorities should in fact be defending the well being of its residents, there is no such thing as a motive why, if the suitable expertise is used, we should lose management of our private knowledge. This concern has now been heightened with the current leak of 1000’s of individuals’s private data from the Netherlands’ Covid-19 track and trace program with a whole knowledge set supplied on the market on-line.
A decentralized id resolution
Blockchain can present a viable different to those centralized digital databases, and the expertise ought to be thought-about by governments, well being businesses and tech corporations constructing digital id options. If developed appropriately, a blockchain-based app can improve robustness for knowledge privateness with an immutable decentralized ledger.
With blockchain, customers can management which components of their id, location and well being credentials are shared, and the person can retailer their knowledge, resembling medical information, as they see match.
Taking this idea one step additional, it’s doable that the person’s knowledge doesn’t even must be saved on the blockchain, subsequently eradicating conflicts with knowledge privateness rules resembling GDPR. Utilizing decentralized identifiers, a blockchain community can confirm that the info was issued by a trusted particular person or group with out truly having to retailer that knowledge, thereby conforming to GDPR requirements.
Moreover, decentralized identifiers can separate the info from direct identifiers in order that linkage to a selected particular person shouldn’t be doable with out further data that’s held individually. The correlation can solely be made by these events to which the person offers full entry, whereas nonetheless permitting anonymised knowledge for use as essential, for instance in monitoring the overall variety of COVID-19 vaccinations in a rustic or city.
Decentralized identifiers are only one instance of a complete host of thrilling new applied sciences within the area of id and knowledge administration within the blockchain area. And these applied sciences aren’t hypothetical, they exist immediately, and in lots of instances have already been deployed in a number of completely different industries by establishments throughout the globe. If developed appropriately, a blockchain primarily based decentralized ledger can allow people to train management over their digital footprint in a safe and sustainable manner.
Concerning the creator
Ivar Wiersma has 20 years’ expertise in banking, capital markets, fintech, enterprise constructing and company innovation. He has launched new banking merchandise, Led innovation, Blockchain and Superior Analytics groups at ING and co-founded ING Labs, chargeable for creating 15+ ventures and firm spin-outs. Ivar has been an advisor, investor and board member for start-ups and has served 2 years on the R3 board, previous to becoming a member of the agency as head of Enterprise Improvement.
DISCLAIMER: Biometric Replace’s Trade Insights are submitted content material. The views expressed on this submit are that of the creator, and don’t essentially mirror the views of Biometric Replace.