Microsoft Expands on Its Digital Identity Vision
With plans to store and process digital identity data via blockchain architecture, Microsoft’s Identity Division elaborates on the importance of digital identity — and a future where individuals own and control all elements of their digital information.
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Decentralized Identity Foundation
The creators of the world wide web envisioned an open system of free information. However, as the internet developed, large enterprises such as Microsoft put up walls to collect and store identity information which is used to provide consent for a range of apps and services.
Now some years later, one of those very same enterprise giants is working to provide billions of users around the world with a way to enhance individual privacy and security across the physical and digital world.
Ankur Patel, a leader within Microsoft’s Identity division, expanded on Microsoft’s focus to build privacy by design from the ground up.
“With data breaches and identity theft becoming more sophisticated and frequent, users need a way to take ownership of their identity. And to create a robust decentralized identity ecosystem that is accessible to all, it must be built on standard, open source technologies, protocols, and reference implementations.”
Specifically, for the past year, the Microsoft team has been working with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). The DIF foundation is a group of individuals and organization collaborating to take on challenges such as Identity hubs, as well as the process of creating formal documentation for describing the state of decentralized identities.
Part of the Microsoft Authenticator App
It’s crucial for blockchain protocols facilitating digital identity transactions to get to a point where they can support the vast ecosystem of users, organizations, and devices. Additionally, digital solutions must be accessible to everyone and in a medium that current consumers are comfortable with — such as the latest in handheld devices and wearable technologies.
Today, the Microsoft Authenticator app is used by millions of consumers around the world, and the Identity Division is planning on adding decentralized identity support within the Microsoft Authenticator application.
By gaining users’ consent within Microsoft Authenticator, the app will act as that user’s agent and manage all identity data and cryptographic keys. Only the ID is rooted in the chain itself, and there is complete identity ownership. Microsoft even envisions a future where other apps and services will be able to interact with this rooted user data via regular internal messaging services.
Microsoft has been a long-time advocate of blockchain technologies. Its thoughts on the role digital identity will have in the future is another example of how the tech giant sees data privacy evolving, and the standards that need to be defined before that happens.
Do you think blockchain solutions are ready for the performance demands of digital identity use cases? Let us know.
Images via CryptoTraders.eu