Written By Michael Ferrara
Created on 2022-09-29 19:15
Published on 2022-09-30 12:14
Let's immerse ourselves in the plot of the movie "Second Act," featuring Jennifer Lopez. In this film, Lopez's character enlists the help of a tech-savvy teenager to create a fabricated Ivy League identity using Photoshop. This faked identity, complete with a resume, lands her an executive position, akin to a fantasy brought to life through the power of digital manipulation.
Shifting from the realm of cinematic fiction to real-world advancements, California has recently made a significant move with the signing of the Verifiable Credentials Bill. This legislation paves the way for county recorders to issue vital documents such as birth, death, and marriage certificates through Verifiable Credentials, utilizing decentralized technology. This initiative marks a significant step in the government's broader effort to enhance and secure digital identities, echoing the themes of digital transformation and identity verification as seen in "Second Act," but with the crucial difference of authenticity and security.
This recent development will create a future for Verifiable Credentials (VCs) that will help to boost the interoperability between existing public systems by providing:
A better picture of what a person eventually knows and can do, such as their skillset, with the support of extensive metadata.
Verification 24/7 in a decentralized way.
A privacy-first approach for digital government.
Verifiable Credentials will be standards-based, making them easy for developers to understand.
The technology will act as a virtual equivalent to a wallet containing important identity cards like a passport, immunization card, or driver's license. A VC would be issued in addition to a certified copy of a record of a birth, fetal death, death, marriage, or marriage dissolution. The state of Washington is working on similar legislation. Congress is working on a bill as well.
Just as you carry your (physical) driver’s license or ID card in a (physical) wallet, wristlet, belt bag, disco backpack, or other personal carry-all, you can carry VCs around with you in a digital wallet or carry-all.
Congress and state legislatures are finding that blockchain-based technologies can enable new and innovative developments in a variety of fields, including digital identity. In light of the dangers posed to individuals by data breaches, the legislature intends to consider whether decentralized management of identity data necessary for use by the state will provide greater privacy protection when adopted. Therefore, the conclusion is that government should examine opportunities for allowing for the use of verifiable credentials in transactions with or involving government agencies, public institutions of higher education, and its political subdivisions.
Establishing a trust framework for verifiable credentials hopes to provide a means for improving efficiency, and customer experience, and safeguarding privacy in both public and private sectors. It can provide for uniformity around issues such as privacy and data sharing.
Verifiable Credentials will use "Blockchain" technology which is a cryptographically secured, chronological, and decentralized consensus database maintained across several computers that are linked in a peer-to-peer network. This will provide a tamper-evident credential that has authorship that can be cryptographically verified.
Let’s move to why and how you use your real-world credentials in the wild. Very loosely, you use them to prove aspects of who you are, your skills and accomplishments, or to perform a range of activities such as opening a bank account or enrolling in a school of study.
With physical credentials, and even with many digital credentials currently in use, how verification occurs can be extremely complicated. So complicated, in fact, that your real-world credentials may be considered too much work to actually verify.
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