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Decentralized Identity Alliance Korea seeks to lead global personal data control movement

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Decentralized Identity Alliance Korea seeks to lead global personal data control movement

The ambitions of the Decentralized Identity (DID) Alliance Korea to lead the development of a standardized, interoperable framework for self-sovereign identity (SSI) is made plain by Chairman Kim Yeong-rin in an in-depth interview with The Korea Times.

Kim has worked at the Bank of Korea, headed the Financial Security Institute (FSI), and served as deputy governor at the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), says that “personal identities are currency.” He compares the organization’s plan to influence global development of DID and SSI to the adoption of taekwondo as an Olympic sport under the leadership of a Korean vice president of the International Olympic Committee.

The DID Alliance Korea is the country office for the global DID Alliance, which was founded in 2019 by Raon Secure CEO Lee Soon-hyung and FIDO Alliance Founder Ramesh Kesanupalli.

The rash of breaches of personal data are part of the motivation behind DID efforts, as are the roughly 13 percent of the world’s population with no officially recognized identity.

“They are denied basic services such as finance and mobile connections, not to mention the high and untraceable risk of them falling victim to human trafficking,” Kim says. “A global implementation of the DID will help solve the human rights crisis around the world.”

The Times gives as an example for people in Korea that a DID system could be used by them to pass through immigration services and use financial services in the U.S. without difficulty, as the individual’s passport number, banking information and other records could be stored in the DID ledger and shared with authorities.

A case in which a trio of Korean firms were fined after being indicted for failing to secure personal data, which was eventually sold to loan sharks, is currently under review by the Korean Supreme Court. This kind of crime would not be possible if services were based on DIDs rather than centralized repositories, Kim says.

Blockchain-based intranet OmniOne Network, which underlies DID service operation, was successfully launched in February, and the DID Alliance Korea plans to test the viability of the business model with trial operations and then launch the commercial version of the network in July, according to the Times. The combination of the OmniOne Network and technology developed by the FIDO Alliance enables the DID system to operate efficiently, with resistance to data modification on the digital ledger.

“Based on our Global Association for Digital Identity (GADI) initiative, we will connect human identity with digital identity. This will not only help solve data breach issues but also give an ID to those yet to have one around the world,” Kim states.

The DID system has already been implemented by the Military Manpower Association (MMA) and Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC). The MMA website launched support for the DID system in January, and has surpassed 8,500 DID users a month, allowing online services to replace time-consuming in-person visits to district and MMA offices.

Industry experts from Acuant, Mitek and OneLogin told Biometric Update that 2020 would be a big year for decentralized ID in our predictions for the year ahead at the end of 2019.

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