As the world shifted from analog to digital, so did our private information like Social Security numbers, medical records, bank accounts, credit cards and more. The digital age is forcing us to move our life online and we love the convenience. But with the migration of data, we effectively put every company and government institution in the identity management business. As we have seen in the past few years, some companies have had major data breaches, compromising millions of records. Many individuals have no idea that their digital identities have been compromised until they attempt to buy a home or take out a loan and find their financial lives in ruins. It’s time for a change. It’s time to end identity theft.
But with the emergence of blockchain technology, the word privacy may regain its meaning. Blockchain’s ability to control information and avoid duplication means that self-sovereign identity, or the idea that individuals can control their personal data, could become a reality for the first time. Blockchain could even replace the social security card used by millions of people for identification.
Blockchain to End Identity Theft
Using a blockchain ledger to manage identities would make it extremely difficult for fraudsters to wreak havoc without leaving an obvious digital trail. Here’s how it works: Each block in the blockchain builds upon its predecessor, and the cryptographic nature of these blocks makes it hard to alter information stored in the existing blocks. The resulting record is immutable, meaning that changes to every single identifier associated with an individual must be logged. This system prevents malicious actions by data custodians, and ultimately makes identity theft more difficult to execute.
Blockchain use for identity protection is still in its infancy and there are many layers to solve. There’s the issue of incentive: Why would businesses want to lose control of their customers’ identity data? We also need to determine how to securely and accurately connect individuals’ physical and digital identities. Blockchain only exists in the digital world and cannot guarantee the physical identity of the user, so this puts the burden on businesses to verify, link, and navigate the two. Then there’s the issue of regulation and liability. We need a trusted entity to establish some legal and enforceable rules for how it will all work, infrastructure to bridge the physical and digital world, and the security groundwork to guarantee basic protections for consumers. If we can do these things, privacy will become standard, not a thing of the past.
Learn more and Blockchain and Identity Protection.
– Based on article by Frederic Kerrest from Fortune