As our lives become increasingly digital at home and at work, Microsoft wants to make sure users have the proper privacy, security and control of their data. The company is actively collaborating with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Credentials Community Group to provide an Decentralized Identity (DID) solution, standards and an interoperable ecosystem for developers and businesses.
“Today we use our digital identity at work, at home, and across every app, service, and device we engage with. It’s made up of everything we say, do, and experience in our lives—purchasing tickets for an event, checking into a hotel, or even ordering lunch. Currently, our identity and all our digital interactions are owned and controlled by other parties, some of whom we aren’t even aware of,” the company wrote in a white paper.
According to the company, a standards-based decentralized identity system can enable users to take control of their data, provide a digital hub to store and access their digital identities, and provide stronger trust and security across apps, devices and service providers.
Microsoft has been working on this solution for the past 18 months, using technologies like blockchain and distributed ledgers.
For users, Microsoft explained the benefits will include ability to own and control digital identity, provide secure experiences and enable user-centric apps and services. For developers, the solution will enable them to provide personalized experiences, better respect privacy, and promote a new kind of marketplace “where creators and consumers exchange directly.” Organizations will be able to utilize the solution to minimize privacy and security risks, provide a unified data protocol, and improve transparency and auditability.
“To achieve this vision, we need to augment existing cloud identity systems with one that individuals, organizations, and devices can own so they can control their digital identity and data. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into our daily lives, providing complete control over what we share and with whom we share it, and—when necessary—provide the ability to take it back. Instead of granting broad consent to countless apps and services and spreading their identity data across numerous providers, individuals need a secure, encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it,” Microsoft wrote.
As part of the company’s partnership with DID and W3C, it will provide a open-source DID implementation that will “establish a unified, interoperable ecosystem that developers and businesses can rely on to build a new wave of products, applications, and services that put users in control.”