Although digitalisation has led to a round of efficiency improvements in business and government processes, it has also created greater risks to privacy and cybersecurity. People and companies are increasingly becoming the victims of data leaks that then allow the leaked personal data to be misused e.g., for phishing and other forms of identity fraud. These problems have sprung up in various domains.
Despite that, there is still no coordinated approach in most cases. The result is a plethora of separate identity systems and networks in which privacy, reliability and other such values keep having to be reassessed and ensured. That increases the likelihood of errors and makes it unwieldy for users and regulators to understand and check those systems and networks to veryfy whether privacy and other values are sufficiently protected). The fragmentation of identity systems also exacerbates the issues with interoperability: cultural, organisational, political, legal and economic limitations are hindering data sharing and the identification processes for both people and legal entities. And it is a significant source of annoyance for the users who then have to navigate their way through all the various situations. This can and should be improved!
That is why ‘Identity’ is a cornerstone of a decentralised digital infrastructure. Within the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, we are working towards a better understanding of what the technology does and does not make possible, what considerations of values and norms there are to be made, and the resulting design choices for decentralized digital identity systems. This is what we refer to as ‘self-sovereign identity’. We work closely with centres of expertise, governmental bodies and the commercial sector in the Netherlands and Europe on the topic.
In addition to defining a vision, such as the DSSIF vision document, we are working on concrete use cases and infrastructure. The Dutch Digital Trust Network (DTN) is the infrastructure we are collaborating on with other parties. Almost all the use cases have an identity component, and there are also a few use cases that are specifically focused on SSI, such as the Career Wallets use case and the use case focusing on the Enterprise Passport.