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How do you build trust in a digital economy?

Identity verification while respecting privacy

Trust is the engine of the digital economy. It provides us with the certainty that the person or company we do business with digitally will actually deliver the promised goods, services and payments.


That trust stands or falls with the reliability of the other party’s digital identity.

  • Are the company details correct?
  • Is the person really who they claim to be?
  • And can that person establish a business relationship for the company in question?

By checking the identity of the new business partner – also known as Know Your Customer (KYC) or Know Your Business (KYB) – companies, customers and users around the world can do business with confidence.

At least, if the identity verification is done correctly.
Because it’s not only about the trust of you as a company in the other party, but also of that other party in you.

  • Will you be honest with the information provided?
  • Can the other party assume that you will respect his/her privacy and adhere to GDPR rules?


Self Sovereign Identity

With a digital identity passport where people and companies manage the exchanged identity data themselves, we can meet the expectations of all parties. This is a Self Sovereign Identity (SSI), where users have control over verifiable identity data (or credentials) and must grant permission to use that data. In other words, in an SSI system, users share only the data that is requested and for which you give permission. Thus, you avoid the simultaneous unintentional sharing of irrelevant confidential personal data.

Compare it to check-in at an airport.
At the counter they ask for your passport to verify who you are. At that point, the person at the counter can check not only your photo, your name, and your national registration number, but also your address. Someone with bad intentions can pass this on to thieves’ gangs, giving them free rein to make their move.

The same principle applies to cybercriminals.

A Self Sovereign Identity system can protect you against this, as you only share the information that the other party needs at that moment and for which you explicitly give your permission.
So in the case of the check-in desk, you’re only going to share your name, social security number and photo, for example. All other data, such as your address, will remain protected at that time.


Zero Knowledge Proof

More than that, in an ideal system no information would be shared at all and only an answer to a question would be required. For example, is this person an EU citizen? Is this person of age?  
In a business context this could then be: does this person represent company X?

In such a system, trust relies on the info provided, and not on all the identity information. This is described as Zero Knowledge Proof: you don’t really need information to prove something. And so you can fully ensure the privacy of the person.


Want to know how to combine the principles of Self Sovereign Identity and Zero Knowledge proof in one identity verification system for your company? Contact TruliUs: https://www.trulius.be/en/your-business-identity/

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