The digital identity is what allows you to navigate easily across the internet. In the online world, some institutions ensure the security of our digital identity through key elements like username, passwords, and recovery protocols. However, that security has come at the price of putting one’s data at grave risk by entrusting third-party entities with it. The results are evident from the growing number of data breaches and hack to steal personal information of users over the years.
According to a market study, in the top 15 data breaches recorded in recent times, the personal data of more than 3.5 billion people were stolen. Since our data is linked to our social media, educational, and financial accounts; it makes us vulnerable to hackers, as they can at any time execute any unauthorized transaction. They can use the data for damaging purposes. Once the personal data is stolen, unfortunately, it cannot be retrieved. Over the years, a lot of internet users have been through the data theft ordeal, making the security of digital identity one of the most important issues of the present times.
Luckily we are living in the era of digital transformation and technological advancement that has found a sustainable solution to the security issues. The advent of blockchain is probably the most significant technological event that has happened after the internet, and it has presented us with decentralized identity solutions in the form of self-sovereign identity or SSI. It allows the users to strengthen the security of their data and resolve all privacy concerns with the help of blockchain’s decentralized protocols.
An Introduction to SSI
The core concept of SSI is that the user’s absolute control as in how his/her identity is being used, shared, and accessed. Like the traditional security systems, the control is not in the hands of the third-parties or any centralized authority. A decentralized self-sovereign identity system crafts an ironclad digital security on a smart device through blockchain technology enabling the people to share their identity information without becoming vulnerable to security threats.
SSI does not rely on third-party institutions to store personal data. Rather it forms a layer of safety and trust by keeping the user’s data in their possession while maintaining enhanced security. The user is free to choose with whom he/she wants to share their data, through their smart devices. This also upholds the accuracy of the data shared and can be of relief to the receiver that they are not being sent false information by the sender.
The Relevance of SSI in the Wake of COVID-19
Over the last few months, the world has gone through a landmark shift owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. What started as a global health crisis rapidly escalated to an economic meltdown, and the world was forced to shift to digital platforms to execute regular business, financial and other operations due to the lockdowns and social distancing protocol. The repercussions of the ongoing pandemic are the birth of the new normal, which led major industries to shift their significant operations online, which before the pandemic, got executed offline.
Digital identity being central consumer interaction and engagement across the industries, the need to securely share personal data has heightened in recent months. With that, the focus on SSI and rising demand to make it mainstream has also increased significantly, especially in the healthcare sector.
In attempts to revive the economy and the society, innovative solutions were presented in regards to the digital health information. Leading companies in the healthcare sector are focusing on developing a more secure and confidential method of certifying the test results for COVID-19. This will enable businesses and health organizations to resume their operations properly and instill faith and confidence in the people that they serve regarding health and safety. Some innovators are working on creating a system of digital certificate generation that will allow individuals to furnish the same as proof of their recovery from the virus. The same system will also help them in rehabilitating to normal life after recovery.
Termed as health passports, these will present as verifiable proof that one has recovered from COVID-19 and has antibodies in their body. After the development and release of the vaccine, the system or health passports can be used to distinguish the ones that have been immunized. It will allow those that are safe from spreading or contracting the virus to resume their normal routine and go to the workplace and public areas freely by providing their verifiable health data.
The immediate requirement to share health data during the ongoing pandemic has accelerated the cause of SSI. Nevertheless, these solutions are applicable beyond the periphery or healthcare, and some experts are saying the future of digital identity and data.
The decentralized digital identity solutions or SSI can be applied to an extensive range of use cases, such as accessing:
- Financial services like banking insurance etc.
- Government services like voter identity, driver’s license, passport, and likewise
- Getting enrolled in an educational institute, and more.
There is no overstating the value of an easily verifiable, distributable, and highly secured identity. Mainstream adoption of SSI would eliminate the innate risk attached to the traditional usernames and passwords system that are used to access personal accounts, be it of financial importance, social media, or e-commerce.
In SSI even if the criminals get access to one’s name, date of birth, social security number, it will not be of any use, as they will not be able to do anything with that information, without going through the protocols set by SSI. It is safe to say that we are on the way to creating a world, where the thieves won’t be able to access a bank account or commit identity fraud.
Advanced, secure, and easy-to-use decentralized digital identity will have a positive impact on people in underrepresented communities, where victims of identity thefts and crimes have lesser resources to rebuild their lives.
HashCash Consultants’ take on SSI
Being one of the leading blockchain development companies out there, HashCash has been championing the cause of decentralized digital identities for quite a while now. The biggest example being, their very own blockchain-based digital identity verification solutions that have been the backbone of several pilot projects that they have contributed and collaborated in. The company has extensive plans of venturing further into the SSI domain and create scalable industry-ready infrastructures for various business modules and verticals.