Decentralized ID

Wired (March 02, 2021):

Microsoft’s Dream of Decentralized IDs Enters the Real World

“The company will launch a public preview of its identification platform this spring—and has already tested it at the UK’s National Health Service.” (…)

“A long-discussed challenge of decentralized ID schemes is that they create the potential for new types of exposures even as they reduce others.”

“Privacy, decentralization, and trustworthiness are very difficult to achieve at the same time. Blockchains make privacy difficult, decentralization makes it difficult to identify trustworthy credentials, and various chokepoints in the ecosystem might very well mean that access to these technologies ends up going through centralized portals,” says Emin Gün Sirer, a computer scientist and codirector of Cornell University’s Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts. “But more importantly, these technologies require a rethinking of the notion of identity. And it’s here where most enterprises falter, as their business models are inherently tied to knowing and monetizing every bit of data about their users.”

“This doesn’t mean a usable decentralized identity platform is impossible, Gün Sirer says. And a company like Microsoft is certainly in the position to drive mass adoption of a new technology. Decentralized ID services may be a tough sell, though, both to organizations that don’t want to stop collecting data and those that wouldn’t want to embrace another fundamental service driven by an already powerful player like Microsoft.”

“”Properly implemented, decentralized digital identity solutions promise to provide more control to users,” Gün Sirer says. “I just fundamentally doubt that the breakthrough we need can come from a centralized software vendor.””

A classic strategy, according to Niall Ferguson in Empire, is that governments first allow private companies to build new tech infrastructure and then come in later and centralize it under the state (in an emergency):

“Victorian revolution in global communications achieved ‘the annihilation of distance’. But it also made possible long-distance annihilation.”

When people have gotten used to decentralized IDs, the next step is using salami slicing tactics to gradually centralize the ID system, by for example secretly combining it with a new hidden central of data collection, via backdoors or openly through emergency laws (during a pandemic for example).

Wikipedia on salami slicing away your opponents:

“Rákosi claimed he destroyed the non-Communist parties by “cutting them off like slices of salami.”[3] By portraying his opponents as fascists (or at the very least fascist sympathizers), he was able to get the opposition to slice off its right-wing, then its center, then most of its left-wing, so that only fellow travellers willing to collaborate with the Communist Party remained in power.”

If you trust that corporations will not be manipulative listen to Theresa Fallon here:

How Beijing Gets European Megacorporations to Lobby for China

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