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Markus Sabadello: “Internet Identity: Self-sovereign ID vs. (national) eIDs”
November 27, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Historically, nation states have always played a vital role in identifying their citizens. Today, this is also reflected in the digital world, where governments issue eID cards to their own citizens (and in some cases even to foreigners, such as in the case of the Estonian eResidency program). In Austria, a number of institutions and companies (Federal Chancellery, Ministry of the Interior, Austrian State Printing House, A-Trust, etc.) provide the infrastructure for the Austrian “Bürgerkarte”, a classic centralized digital identity system which is currently undergoing a major architectural revision. At the same time, during the last few years we have been witnessing fast growing interest in decentralized, privacy-enhancing, and so-called “self-sovereign” digital identity technologies, which put individuals in control of their own digital identity, without dependencies on any state or company. In many cases (especially blockchain), the proponents of such technologies are critical of traditional authorities.
In this talk, let us look at both the different political assumptions and the different technological approaches behind “self-sovereign” identity vs. national identity, and let us explore if they are really conflicting ends of a spectrum, or if they are perhaps rather compatible and complementary.