The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Facebook's data privacy leaks have focused greater attention on the issues around the data privacy of consumers. These headlines come at a time when plenty of organizations are collecting your data, and there is not a single set of rules about how that data must be handled. Do you own your own personal data about yourself? Can you even control it or know what's out there?
Internet identity is a related topic. Who are you on the Internet? Are you your Tinder profile? Your banking profile? Your educational certifications and credentials? Your profile as a citizen, as documented in your driver's license, voter registration, and other state records? You are all those people. And you probably don't want those profiles to be intermingled.
Besides the question of managing your many online identities, there's another big question -- who owns and controls them?
The rules and the infrastructure of Internet identity are being crafted now. There's a movement underway to give individuals control over their own data rather than cede control to credential-issuing authorities such as employers, governments, and social media network providers. It's still in the early stages, and there are a lot of moving parts, and a lot of organizations working on it.
But now is the time to pay attention, according to Kaliya Young, also known as "Identity Woman," who offered her perspective on the movement during the session, Identity is Changing: The Rise of Self-Sovereign Identity Infrastructure Using Blockchain, at Interop ITX this month.
Young pointed out that the early development of the physical infrastructure of roads and railroads have had a lasting impact on transportation infrastructure, as early routes became established routes. Standards and protocols are essential components of these infrastructures. For instance, she said, it was complicated and difficult for the railroads to keep accurate train schedules at the beginning of their operations when each local jurisdiction set its own local time. There was no Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time. There were local times in each city, and they may have differed by 12 minutes here, or 23 minutes there. Creating standard time zones in 1883 improved the infrastructure of the railroads.
Today, it's all aboard to craft the infrastructure for identity.
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