“Think of the internet as a public place. Don’t leave your details lying around”. — Student, University of Edinburg
The Internet is a technology that has pretty much changed the way everything operates. It has made life so easier for everyone. Almost everything can be executed digitally, right from ordering even your morning coffee online to buying a new electronic gadget. In fact, it can be said that the internet is more of a necessity than a luxury.
When we operate on the internet, we leave global digital traces. The more windows we use, the more footprints we leave. Internet Platforms like PayPal, Credit card processors, Direct Banking, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies process financial transactions. A customer must reveal intimate and financial records in order to get access to these services.
A user’s data is often stored on various databases and are generated at different intervals. Some of the data like a user’s phone number might change after a span of time, and hence is not the same on every database. The outcome is that there exist numerous ‘digital clones’ of an individual all across the web.
There exist many obstacles in the present identity administration system. There are so many platforms that exist on the web where users need to remember various passwords and create numerous accounts to get registered. Users cannot upload their credentials and digital identities concurrently. Furthermore, as we witnessed in the Equifax Hack, programmers just need to breach one major database to access all the records of a user.
In short, the current system is unsuitable with reference to future contexts.
A possible solution is blockchain technology. Blockchain technology has the ability to save the users data more securely and in a trusted manner. Blockchain technology is a decentralized platform. With the use of blockchain network, a user’s data can be saved in such a manner that it can’t be tampered or corrupted. Moreover, the data is always going to be accurate and concise. The data in this digital identity will always be up to date.
Many giant companies are opting for this solution because it offers the users a more private way of making their transactions. Bitnation, Civic, Cambridge Blockchain LLC are some examples.
Bitnation acts as the government of the people and refers to its users as the ‘citizens’ of Bitnation. Civic, which deals with reduction of fraud, had a really beneficial ICO last year.
IBM and SecureKey technologies are also getting started on the blockchain wave for their digital identity network. It will be built on the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0v which is an authoritative blockchain (meaning it has restrictions as to who can take part in the consensus mechanism). Due to the presence of a permission blockchain network, users can decide who can get access to their data online and save it from hackers.
Unless the customers don’t buy in, no digital blockchain network will be useful for any organizations. Many industries looking to adopt blockchain networks are highly regulated such as banks, credit card companies and health providers. A project’s data privacy structure, nodes and development teams will be the key to success.
In the future, we hope to have an up to date digital clone. Blockchain-based networks will prevent identity theft, hence reducing the chances of fraud. This network will be a trusted platform and users will be able to choose what data they want to share with a particular party. This will gain the trust of many people as security continues to stay on the top of the priority list of every user. Let’s hope we are able to make this technology a success, which is going to make the internet world a fraud and tamper-free zone.