Philip’s essay has so many flaws that I have had to continue to pull it a part in ta series. Below is a quote from Philip’s critique and I am so confused – What are you talking about? Who has built this system with SSI that you speak of? It just doesn’t exist yet. AND IF YOU DON’T want it to exist – dive in and build what you want with the technology like Jim has done with Tru.
An acquaintance now quits those ‘old-fashioned’ relationship-building niceties and gets straight to the SSI point. Where do you work? Which college did you go to? Which college did your parents go to? Republican or Democrat? What’s your gender? Your ethnic origins? Do you have this gene or the other one?
If you fail to offer up the requisite verifiable claims then you fail to get to ‘trust building’ first base in the SSI century…But it’s worse. The new social norm now expects you, expects everyone, and more accurately expects your agents to perform similar examinations as a matter of course. And why not? We’re told it’s beneficial, that it’s trust building, that it’s the missing layer. It’s frictionless. It works on an individual basis and government services have adopted it, so surely then it must be good for society as a whole?– THE DYSTOPIA OF SELF-SOVEREIGN IDENTITY (SSI)
Who has said this is how we will all meet and great people online using SSI?
No one building SSI systems imagine that talking to acquaintances will look much different than it does now. However it’s the internet and there are lots of people who are not real people out there and real people who claim things about themsleves that are not true.
One of the great things about self-sovereign Identity technology is it lets us do things with selective disclosure. That is share some information without all of it. So it could actually increase trust (believable confidence) in some types of interactions online. For example when talking about a particular environmental issue – scientist could chime in and “prove” to the site they are interacting with they do have a Masters Degree in Environmental Science without disclosing “who they are” – or when dialoguing about a particular local issue related to a school board one could “prove” that one actually lived in a given jurisdiction – thus having greater standing in the debate unfolding – but without disclosing exactly “who they are”. These new capabilities that SSI technology does afford seems like it would be exciting to explore using by those seeking to transform how things work online and build “trustable technology” as Philip so boldly claim.
I also can say as a victim of sociopathic lying abusive narcissist. That being able to actually ask for proof of some of what he claimed about himself would have been a good thing. So before you get on your high horse and think you know best based on drawing incredibly broad claims about what will be – step back and look at a broader range of people who have less privilege and are more marginalized then your self. I 100% agree we need more diversity in the room AND I have been proactively working within our community to foster it.
government services have adopted it, so surely then it must be good for society as a whole?
You are darn right….governments are really keen on this technology – why because it can help them do what they are tasked to do – serve citizens (and do it in ways that are not creepy and invasive).
Right now rural people are far away from government services and have a hard time accessing them. What is one of the biggest reasons for this for a whole set of services it is necessary for the government to know which citizen it is giving those services too. If there is no way to actually do this digitally in a way that gives the government high confidence “you are you” then they can’t do this and millions of rural people loose out and we have a worse society. The Canadians have been pushing to solve these digital identity issues in ways that preserve citizen/resident agency and respect for over a decade and by the way they were influenced by IIW having come to our event to learn from our work/perspectives. They founded the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada and are working on a Pan-Canadian Trust Framework to enable interoperability of credentials throughout Canada (so people don’t have to go and get a different/new credential for every jurisdiction or organization or company they interact with.)
This is the 4th in a series critiquing Philip’s post.
Bonus – Why my expertise is radically interdisciplinary and not focused solely on “information technology” cause that is always a reason to not listen to something a woman is saying.