What is Digital Identity?

In this post ”What is Digital Identity?”, we will look at all about Digital Identity. This includes digital rhetoric, Identity taxonomies, digital object architecture, and many more.

A person or entity’s information used to identify themselves to a computer or network.

About Digital Identity

Several types of digital identities are already widely used. The most obvious is government identification, which is utilized for a variety of purposes. This includes banking, company registration, and, of course, surveillance.

Customers can use identification systems to transact online, check in to digital services, and prove their identity to businesses like employers.

Traditional identity systems have a variety of flaws that need to be addressed.
They can be unreachable (sometimes on purpose), insecure and vulnerable to attack, easy to scam, and fragmented.

Many of these issues can be solved using blockchain technology. Deep tests are presently being undertaken into the use of blockchain for digital identification applications. And some of these are already in use at scale. For example, several national governments are migrating their whole identity systems to blockchains.

Blockchain-based digital IDs are considered as especially valuable for the 11 billion people worldwide who lack proof of identity, which is often due to cost, complexity, or inaccessibility. These persons are unable to access essential services such as banking due to a lack of verification of identity. The proliferation of mobile phones, on the other hand, opens the door to the development of simplified, free blockchain-based identity solutions.

Furthermore, blockchain technology is far more secure than the digital identification systems that are already in use. While it is now quite easy to create a false identity online, blockchain-based identification solutions provide 100% trust in an identity’s legitimacy due to the immutable nature of blockchain-based recordkeeping.

Additional Information on Digital Identity

A digital identity is a virtual or networked identity that an individual, organization, or electronic equipment adopts or claims in cyberspace.

Through several communities, these users may project more than one digital persona. Security and privacy are major concerns when it comes to digital identity management.

A digital identity, like its human counterpart, is made up of qualities, or data properties, such as the following:
  • Password and username
  • Electronic transactions and online search activity
  • Your birthdate
  • The individual’s social security number
  • Medical background
  • Purchasing habits or history

One or more digital identifiers, such as an email address, URL, or domain name, are connected to a digital identity. Digital identity authentication and validation procedures are crucial to guaranteeing Web and network infrastructure security in the public and private sectors, given the prevalence of identity theft on the Internet.

A digital identity is data about a person or thing that computer systems utilize to represent an external actor. A person, organization, program, or gadget could be that agent. Identity is defined by ISO/IEC 24760-1 as a “collection of attributes associated to an entity.”

Without the intervention of human operators, the information included in a digital identity enables for the assessment and authentication of a user interacting with a business system on the web. Digital identities enable computers to automate access to computers and the services they provide, as well as allowing computers to mediate relationships.

The term “digital identity” also refers to various characteristics of civil and personal identification that have arisen as a result of the widespread usage of identity data to represent persons in computer systems in an accepted and trusted digital format.

Data about people saved in computer systems is now frequently connected to their civil, or national, identities, which is known as digital identity. Additionally, the use of digital identities has become so common that many debates refer to a person’s “digital identity” as the full collection of data generated by their online activities.

Usernames and passwords, online search activities, birth date, social security number, and purchase history are all included. Especially if the information is public and not anonymised, making it possible for others to learn about that person’s civil identity.
A digital identity is a variant, or facet, of a person’s social identity in this broad meaning.
This may also be attributed to as an online identity.

The user of self-sovereign identity (SSI) has the ability to generate and control unique identifiers as well as store identification data.

The legal and societal implications of digital identity are complex and difficult to comprehend.

They are, however, just a result of the growing use of computers and the need to give computers with data that can be used to identify external agents.

Identifying with whom one is communicating in cyberspace is a major issue. There are no precise means to determine a person’s identity in digital space by employing static identifiers such as passwords and emails, because this data can be hijacked or used by multiple people behaving as one. Digital identification can verify and validate an identity with up to 95% accuracy using dynamic entity associations acquired from behavioral history across numerous websites and mobile apps.

A pattern of convergence can validate or authenticate an identity as legitimate by assessing a set of entity relationships between a new event (e.g., login) and previous occurrences. Whereas divergence suggests an attempt to disguise an identity. In most cases, data used for digital identity is anonymized using a one-way hash, which eliminates privacy concerns. A digital identity is difficult to falsify or steal since it is based on past activity.

Digital Rhetoric

In the academic subject of digital rhetoric, the term “digital identity” refers to identity as a “rhetorical creation.”
Therefore in ever-evolving digital environments, digital rhetoric is concerned with how identities are produced, negotiated, influenced, or challenged. In digital settings, being aware of various rhetorical situations is difficult. But it is critical for efficient communication
As some academics suggest that an individual’s ability to evaluate rhetorical situations is required for establishing an acceptable identity in various rhetorical contexts.

Furthermore, physical and digital identities are inextricably linked, and visual affordances influence how physical identities are represented in online settings.

“What we do online now requires more continuity—or at least fluidity—between our online and off-line selves,” Bay says.

Scholars consider how questions of racism, gender, agency, and power materialize in digital spaces when placing digital identity in language.

“Cyberspace would liberate individuals from their bodies, blurring the borders between human and technology,” according to certain radical theorists.

Other researchers speculated that this “disembodied” communication “might free society from sex, gender, sexuality, class or racial discrimination.”

Furthermore, the network plays a role in the creation of digital identity. This can be observed in the operations of reputation management firms, which focus on establishing a positive brand so that personal or business accounts rank higher in search engines.

Issuance

Digital certificates, which function similarly to passports in the real world, can be used to create digital identities. They contain data that may be linked to a specific user and are backed up by legal guarantees from a reputable certification authority (CA).

Trust, authentication and authorization

To ascribe a digital representation to an entity, the attributing party must accept that the claim of an attribute (such as a person’s name, location, job title, or age) is accurate. And also related with the person or item presenting the attribute (see Authentication below). Individuals claiming an attribute, on the other hand, may only allow limited access to its information. Such as proving identity in a bar or using PayPal authentication to make a payment on a website.

Digital identity is thus better understood as a certain point of view within a mutually agreed-upon connection. Rather than as an objective attribute.

Authentication

Authentication is an important part of trust-based identity attribution. Since it provides a formalised guarantee of one entity’s identification to another. Presentation of a unique object, such as a bank credit card, provision of confidential information. Such as a password or the response to a pre-arranged question, confirmation of ownership of an e-mail address.

And more robust but relatively expensive solutions utilizing encryption methodologies are all examples of authentication methodologies.

Generally, business-to-business authentication emphasizes security, whereas user-to-business authentication emphasizes ease of use. Iris scanning, handprinting, and voiceprinting are examples of physical verification procedure. They are currently being developed in the hopes of improving identity theft security.

Biometry is the field in which those techniques are used (biometrics). Multi factor authentication would be possible using a combination of static identifiers (usernames and passwords) and personal unique features (biometrics). This method would produce more trustworthy authentication, which is far more difficult to breach and modify in nature.

While technological advancements in authentication continue, these solutions do not prevent the usage of aliases. Multifactor authentication for online payment transactions within the European Union now connects a verified person to an account. Where the verified person has been identified in compliance with legislative requirements prior to the account being opened.

Verifying a person who opens an account online usually necessitates some type of gadget tying to the credentials.

This ensures that the device used to represent a person on the Internet is the individual’s device. Not the device of someone posing as the individual. Reliance authentication is a notion that uses pre-existing accounts to piggyback additional services onto those accounts. As long as the original source is trustworthy.

The notion of reliability derives from anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing legislation in the United States, the EU28, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand. Here, second parties can rely on the first party’s customer due diligence procedure, for example, a financial institution. PayPal’s verification technique is an example of dependency authentication.

Authorization

Any entity that controls resources determines whether or not the authenticated can access those resources through authorization. Because permission necessitates the verification of the critical characteristic (i.e., the attribute that decides the authorizer’s choice), authentication is required.

Authorization on a credit card, for example, grants access to Amazon’s resources, such as sending a goods. An employee’s authorization grants him or her access to network resources such as printers, files, and software. A database management system, for example, might be built to allow certain individuals to retrieve information from a database. But not to alter data stored in the database, while allowing others to change data.

Consider someone who rents a car and pays for their hotel room with a credit card. The automobile rental and hotel companies may ask for proof of sufficient credit in the event of an accident or excessive room service spending. As a result, a card may be rejected later while attempting to purchase an activity such as a balloon ride. Although there is enough credit to cover the rental, hotel, and balloon trip, there isn’t enough to cover the authorizations as well. After leaving the hotel and returning the automobile, which may be too late for the balloon ride, the actual charges are authorized.

Valid online authorisation necessitates the examination of data pertaining to the digital event, such as device and ambient characteristics. Hundreds of entities are sent between a device and a business server to facilitate an event using ordinary Internet protocols.

Digital Identifiers

Digital identity is based on digital identifiers, which are strings or tokens that are unique within a certain scope. (Globally or locally within a specific domain, community, directory, application, etc.). The parties to an identification relationship utilize identifiers to agree on the entity being represented. There are two types of identifiers: omnidirectional and unidirectional.

Unidirectional identifiers are designed to be private and utilized only in the context of a specific identity connection. Whereas omnidirectional identifiers are intended to be public and easily discoverable.

Resolvable and non-resolvable identifiers are two types of identifiers. Resolvable identifiers, such as a domain name or an e-mail address, can be dereferenced into the entity they represent. Or into some current state data that contains relevant aspects of that thing. Nonresolvable identifiers, such as a person’s real-world name or a subject or topic name, can be compared for similarities. But are not machine-understandable in any other way.

There are many different schemes and formats for digital identifiers. The most widely used is Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and its internationalized version Internationalized Resource Identifier (IRI). The standard for identifiers on the World Wide Web. OpenID and Light-weight Identity (LID) are two web authentication protocols that use standard HTTP URIs (often called URLs), for example. A Uniform Resource Name (URN) is a persistent, location-independent identifier assigned within the defined namespace.

Digital Object Architecture

DOA (Digital Object Architecture) is a method of handling digital data in a network setting. A machine and platform independent structure allows a digital object to be identified, accessed, and protected as needed. A digital object may contain not just informative elements, such as a digitized version of a document, movie, or sound recording. But also the digital item’s unique identification and other metadata. Restrictions on access to digital objects, statements of ownership, and identifiers for licensing agreements, if applicable, may all be included in the metadata.

Handle System

The Handle System is a distributed information system that provides efficient, flexible, and secure identity and resolution services for usage on networks like the internet. It consists of an open collection of protocols, a namespace, and a protocol reference implementation. The protocols allow a distributed computer system to hold identifiers for arbitrary resources, known as handles. And transform those handles into the data needed to identify, access, contact, validate, or otherwise use the resources.

This information can be updated as needed to represent the current status of the recognized resource without changing the identifier, allowing the item’s name to persist despite changes in location and other state information. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency helped design the first iteration of the Handle System technology (DARPA).

Extensible Resource Identifiers

XRI (Extensible Resource Identifiers), a new OASIS standard for abstract, structured identifiers, adds new properties to URIs and IRIs that are especially relevant for digital identification systems. XRIs are the foundation for i-names, and OpenID supports them as well.

Risk-based authentication

Multiple entity relationships from the device (e.g., operating system), environment (e.g., DNS Server), and data submitted by a user for any given transaction are analyzed for correlation with events from known behaviors for the same identity in risk-based authentication.

The analysis is based on quantifiable indicators including transaction velocity, locale settings (or obfuscation attempts), and user-input data (such as ship-to address). Correlation and deviation are mapped to tolerances and evaluated, then aggregated across several organizations to compute a transaction risk-score, which determines the level of risk posed to a business.

Policy considerations

Some argue that digital identity self-determination and freedom of expression should be treated as a new human right.

Some people believe that digital identities will evolve into a new type of legal entity.

Identity taxonomies

Within the context of ontologies, digital identity attributes—or data—exist. A current challenge is the creation of digital identity network systems that can interoperate taxonomically varied representations of digital identity.

By effectively flattening identity qualities into a single, unstructured layer, free-tagging has lately emerged as an efficient technique of evading this difficulty (to date, largely with application to the identity of digital things such as bookmarks and photographs).

The organic integration of the advantages of both structured and fluid approaches to identification attribute management, on the other hand, remains elusive.

Identity in a network

Multiple identity entities may be involved in identity connections inside a digital network.
In a decentralized network like the Internet, however, such extended identity relationships effectively necessitate both (a) the existence of independent relations between each pair of entities in the relationship and (b) a method of reliably integrating the paired relationships into larger relational units. Identity traits must be matched across multiple ontologies if identity relationships are to extend beyond the boundaries of a single, federated ontology of identity (see Taxonomies of identity above). The development of network techniques capable of encapsulating such integrated “compound” trust connections is a hot issue in the blogosphere right now.

Entity A, for example, can accept an assertion or claim made by entity C regarding entity B thanks to integrated compound trust relationships. As a result, C vouchs for a facet of B’s identity to A.

The ability to selectively disclose locally relevant information from one entity to another is a critical aspect of “compound” trust relationships. As an example of how selective disclosure could be used, imagine if Diana wanted to book a rental automobile without giving any unnecessary personal information (using a fictitious digital identity network that allows compound trust relationships). Diana, as an adult resident of the United Kingdom with a valid driver’s license, may have the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency vouch for her driving qualification, age, and nationality to a car rental firm without her name or contact information being revealed. Similarly, Diana’s bank may provide the rental firm with only her banking information. Selective disclosure ensures that information in a identity relationship network is kept private.

The “White Pages” is a classic kind of networked digital identity based on international standards.

Concerns about security and privacy

The dichotomy between ubiquitous services that devour digital identity on the one hand and privacy on the other has been highlighted by several writers.

If services collect and retain data connected to a digital identity, and if that digital identity can be linked to a user’s real identity. Then recording and sharing data can reveal a lot about them. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one attempt to address this issue through regulation.

When evaluating data linked to digital identities, several systems incorporate privacy-related mitigations. Data anonymization, such as hashing user identities with a cryptographic hash function, is a frequent mitigation. Another popular strategy for reducing identifiability is to add statistical noise to a data set, such as via differential privacy.

While a digital identity allows users to trade from anywhere and handle multiple ID cards more simply. t also creates a single point of compromise that bad hackers can exploit to acquire all of that sensitive data.

Concerns about the law

Clare Sullivan discusses the legal foundations of digital identity as a new legal notion.

Sullivan’s argument is supported by the UK’s Identification Cards Act 2006, which introduces a new legal notion involving database and transaction identity. Database identity is a collection of data about an individual that is stored in the scheme’s databases. While transaction identity is a set of data that defines the individual’s identity for transactional purposes. Despite the focus on identity verification, none of the procedures utilized are completely reliable. The ramifications of digital identity fraud and misuse are potentially substantial, because the person could be held legally liable.

Aspects of business

Corporations have begun to see the internet’s promise for customizing their online appearance to each individual client. Businesses have had significant success with purchase suggestions, personalized advertisements, and other specialized marketing methods. However, the capacity to link attributes and preferences to the visitor’s identity is required for such customisation.

Human agency must be transferred. Including the authorization, authentication, and identification of the buyer and/or seller. s well as “proof of life,” without the use of a third party, for technology to permit direct value transfer of rights and non-bearer assets.

Digital identity systems at the national level

Jurisdictional differences

While many aspects of digital identification are universal due to the Internet’s ubiquity, geographical differences exist due to distinct laws, practices, and government services in existence. For example, in Australia, digital identity can use services that validate driving licenses, passports, and other physical files online to improve the overall quality of a digital identity. However, strict anti-money laundering policies mean that some services, such as money transfers, require a higher level of digital identity validation.

In the national meaning, digital identity might refer to a combination of single sign-on and/or assertion validation by trusted authorities (generally the government).

Here is a list of related topics you might find interesting:

  1. Blockchain Technology
  2. Defi
  3. NFTs
  4. DAOs
  5. Crypto
  6. Web 3.0
  7. Altcoin Tokenomics
  8. Metaverse
  9. Smart Contracts

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