Why having full control of your digital identity matters

By | 2 minute read | May 19, 2020

Showing a passport at the border, a driver’s license to the police, or your ID card when buying a house are all examples of how we prove who we are today. It seems we take for granted everything that a central authority (in this case our local government) has done to securely store our identifying data to issue our physical ID documents.

We trust our “analog” IDs and automatically extend this trust into the digital world. We easily disclose sensitive personal data to get an extra discount while shopping online. We believe that our Facebook profiles are secure enough to provide to local service providers. Or, we send sensitive business and personal information over insecure websites when applying for COVID-19 emergency aid funding, to name just a few examples.

But the online world is different: the number of devices connected to the Internet, including the machines, sensors, and cameras that make up the Internet of Things talking to each other and to us will soon exceed earth’s population[1] by more than three times and the same is valid for social media identities[2]. COVID-19 has locked down in one way or another more than 2.6 billion people and as a result security incidents have grown up 40 percent due to home working. And while investments in IT security are growing, the number of cyber threats and incidents is rising even faster[3]. So is their scale and the damage they cause. Human error is one of the key factors behind the success of these attacks.

So, how can we identify ourselves online securely and effectively? How can we work, shop, “meet” a doctor or trade cryptocurrency in a safe and secure manner?

We have no choice but to reclaim full control of our digital identity and our sensitive data.

I am very proud that IBM is part of a solution that helps us do exactly that.

Based on the IBM POWER platform, the Swiss startup Vereign has built a blockchain that enables a decentralized, self-managed identity solution. Vereign has chosen IBM POWER architecture, because of the completely open system stack – from the foundation of the hardware through the software stack. Such a digital identity relies on open source and open standards and allows users to verify authenticity across the web while keeping data sovereignty. It can be added to any type of service and automatically meets GDPR and other key compliance requirements. Find out more about it here.

Do you have full control over your digital identity? Do you maintain that control when sharing sensitive personal data online? Let me know what you think over on LinkedIn.

[1] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS45213219

[2] https://www.epic360.net/121-amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts/

[3] https://www.ibm.com/security/services/managed-security-services/xforce-command-cyber-tactical-operations-center