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Digital Identification Must Be Designed for Privacy and Equity

– Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Alexis Hancock presents a striking case for reviewing current and upcoming digital identity solutions that could do more harm than good for individuals’ privacy and equity

Hancock notes much work has been done recently in the digital identity space, especially with “Trust Model” applications or Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) models.

“There has been a growing push for digital forms of identification. Proponents assert it is an easier and more streamlined way of proving one’s identity in different contexts, that it will lead to faster access to government services, and that it will make ID’s more inclusive. Several technical specifications have been recently published that expand on this idea into real world applications.”

Hancock explains various “Trust Model” applications with issuers/holders/verifiers of identity - such as the W3C’s Verified Central Data Model or International Organization for Standardization’s Mobile Driver’s License - but notes there are issues with privacy, portability, and inclusivity.

The privacy recommendations in the W3C and mDL specs must be treated as a floor and not a ceiling. We implore the digital identity community and technologists to consider the risks to privacy and social equity

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