Portable means something we take with us without having ever having to leave behind or re-establish. Identity is something we know to be what we think it is, rather than potentially confused or mistaken as something else. The most compelling example of something we humans have created that personifies portable identity is a name and in particular a unique name.
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While some names like John Doe are only semi-unique, human language affords us the combinatoric possibilities that enable every one of us and every entity, and even everything to have distinct and unique names with no overlaps. Email addresses already meet this norm when combined with an domain suffix such as username gmail.
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Without that uniqueness, neither the SMTP or SMS standards would work as definitive routing standards for moving data from one endpoint to another. The existence of domain suffixes and country codes is a concession to naming conventions that are globally enabled as unique, but not fully portable for the user. In such a world, we should be able to have multiple identities — perhaps one more personal and private versus one that is more public and role-based — but there would be confusion if the names associated with those identities were not unique in themselves.
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Nor would you expect to lose or switch a name simply because you moved overseas, changed your phone, switched jobs, or changed where you banked for that matter. Keeping your name would be a right and a responsibility — especially if you built up a reputation with that name. Granted, names might be passed on when we die, transferred for business purposes in the case of a branded entity like Coca-Cola , or created or released for other specific purposes. While associated with a set of portable identity details, names themselves should operate as persistent identity markers, with any changes reflected in a permanent registry.
The list must be public and viewable by all, or else there is no way to determine that the attempt to create a new name is not a duplicate of one that already exists.
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The existence of blockchain technology suggests that such a list can operate without a central authority so that even parties that might disagree on many other matters can at least agree to not create duplicate names. Internet addresses i. In the case of portable identity, there is the opportunity for a fresh start with a neutral blockchain architecture to support ownership and portability of identities even where various companies, industries, and countries along with their regulators might not be able to otherwise agree and cooperate.
A namespace without attestations about the identities of the holders of the names is hollow because nothing can be trusted about the names in question.
A name is only as good as its attestations — which can be determined by the sheer number of followers in the Donald Trump case above, or based on the quality of the attestation agent i. Twitter as a corporation doing its own due diligence and endorsement of which accounts can be verified.
Though we increasingly live in a fact challenged world, the notion of attestations returns to and relies upon a distinction between attestations which is notation of a particular statement at a point in time about someone or something regardless of whether it is true or false versus ratings which are inherently value based expressions of relative desirability regarding one or a combination of attestations.
Attestations about an identity can come from a variety of traditional sources employers, government agencies, utilities, universities, etc.
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The notion of portability is based less on the fact that the party concerned physically carries their personally identifiable information PII around though they do so on a mobile phone , but rather than the attestations about that data sit on and are universally viewable on a public ledger. Publicly available attestations can and should be designed to preserve personal privacy.
Note that an attestation is distinct from the underlying information that is attested to — which may be encrypted and not visible to public view. An example of an attestation verification from a third party might be that I can log into a bank account and that the address details therein match those that are on my government ID and phone account. No mention is made of which bank my name is associated with, or what any of the address details were that matched up between my bank, government ID and phone account. The discoverability of all attestations creates a public good that allows a person to control and carry reputational capital associated with their name.
Thus, the three teams are exploring how portable identity verifications can facilitate customer onboarding journeys and reduce compliance costs for financial firms.
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The ability for customers to use their digital identity to onboard with financial companies is meant to open up access to financial services, to help reduce fraud, and to drive more competition into the UK banking ecosystem. All rights reserved.