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How to avoid another identity nightmare with SSI? Christopher Allen
Join the Dutch Self-Sovereign Identity community in a #Foremembrance for those who died by attempting to bomb the civil archives captured by the Nazis & those defending the vulnerable today. Christopher Allen will share with us the importance of this event for the self-sovereign identity community to build the future of identity on sunset Amsterdam time March 27th. We will also analyze the impact and risk of COVID-19 for privacy and identity systems.

March 27th is a Friday this year. Sunset in Amsterdam is at 19:06 CET, 2:06 pm EDT, 11:06 am PDT & is 1:06 am March 28 in Taipei & Hong Kong.

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How to avoid another identity nightmare with SSI? Christopher Allen

  1. 1. How to avoid another identity tragedy with SSI? Why Are We Here? - #Foremembrance on 27 March 2020 Christopher Allen — Decentralized Identity & Blockchain Architect, Co-Chair W3C Credentials Community Group CC BY-SA 4.0
  2. 2. 1. Empower global SSI communities 2. Open to everyone interested in SSI 3. All content is shared with CC BY SA Alex Preukschat @SSIMeetup @AlexPreukschat Coordinating Node SSIMeetup objectives · CC BY-SA 4.0 International
  3. 3. 3 Sunset 19:06 March 27th – A Moment of Silence CC BY-SA 4.0
  4. 4. 4 Christopher Allen | Executive Director | Blockchain Commons ▪ Co-Chair W3C Credentials CG ▪ Co-Inventor & Architect of Decentralized Identifiers ▪ Author Design Principles of Self-Sovereign Identity ▪ Co-Author SSL/TLS ▪ Former Principal Architect, Blockstream ▪ Former CTO Certicom ▪ Former CEO Consensus Development ▪ Former Faculty Email: Twitter: @ChristopherA · CC BY-SA 4.0 International
  5. 5. LESS Identity & Trustless Identity Two Major Tracks: LESS Identity “Legally-Enabled Self-Sovereign” Identity* Key characteristics: ● Minimum Disclosure ● Full Control ● Necessary Proofs ● Legally-Enabled 5 Trustless Identity Or more properly “Trust Minimized” Identity Key characteristics: ● Anonymity ● Web of Trust ● Censorship Resistance ● Defend Human Rights vs. Powerful Actors (nation states, multi-national corps, mafias, etc.) * Originally coined by Tim Bouma (@trbouma) CC BY-SA 4.0
  6. 6. LESS Identity “I want my identity to be digital, good and better, but in the end, I want my identity to be less than the real me.” — Tim Bouma (@trbouma) “LESS Identity is for higher trust environments with real-world identity verification, trust frameworks, privacy with accountability and government acceptance” — Christopher Allen (@ChristopherA) 6 CC BY-SA 4.0
  7. 7. Trustless Identity “Identity is local, insecure, and labor-intensive… Identity-based access will exclude at least a third of world's future adults” — Nick Szabo (@NickSzabo4) “1.1 billion people have no legal identity, including tens of millions of stateless refugees.” — The World Bank 7 CC BY-SA 4.0
  8. 8. Trustless Identity “And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme form of liberty.” — Plato, from the “The Republic” Book VIII “Identity can be a double-edged sword — usable for both beneficial and maleficent purposes.” — Christopher Allen (@ChristopherA) 8 CC BY-SA 4.0
  9. 9. Trustless Identity “We desire to balance the need for fairness, accountability and support of the commons in civil society against the need to prevent human rights abuses and the right to be able to freely associate. When these needs conflict, we err to preserve the freedom and rights of the individual over the needs of the group. Put another way, we believe in accountability for the powerful, and privacy for everyone else.” — Christopher Allen (@ChristopherA) 9 CC BY-SA 4.0
  10. 10. Why do I care about Self-Sovereign Identity? Last January 26th was the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. I attended a moving ceremony last week in Amsterdam, where the Netherlands Prime Minister apologized. 10 CC BY-SA 4.0
  11. 11. An Apology “When authority became a threat, our government agencies failed as guardians of law and security. …Now that the last survivors are still among us, I apologize today on behalf of the government for government action then.” — Mark Rutte (@minpres), Netherlands Prime Minister on 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz 11 CC BY-SA 4.0
  12. 12. What Went Wrong? Remember, more Jews died as a percentage of population in the Netherlands than in Germany, France and other countries. Part of this is because the Nazis took over civil administration. They had the data! 12 “Netherlands, Belgium and France… The percentage of Jews of the total population did not differ very much and was low in all three countries: 0.75% of the French and Belgian population, and 1.5% of the Dutch population. … Three quarters of the Dutch Jews were murdered… both in terms of percentages and in absolute numbers” CC BY-SA 4.0
  13. 13. How did this happen? In 1932 JL Lentz become the head of the “National Inspectorate of Population Registers” in the Dutch civil service. In the 1930s much of the world was in the grip of The Great Depression. The efficiency of the Dutch civil service ensured all citizens had access to basic services, and was among the best in Europe. 13 CC BY-SA 4.0
  14. 14. It worked! Lentz was given the task of promoting more unity in the population registers of the municipalities By 1936, he help establish a decree that every resident in the Netherlands must have a personal identity card in the civil archives, and that these cards must all be controlled from a single office in each region. Lentz won a Royal Award for this. 14 d=4302 CC BY-SA 4.0
  15. 15. The Civil Archives These centralized civil archives were one of the first targets captured by the Nazis, and were considered a valuable asset. Almost immediately after capitulation, Lentz was asked by the Nazi’s to create difficult to forge National Identity Card. Lentz literally wrote the book on personal identity and “proof of inclusion in the population ledger” in 1940. 15 CC BY-SA 4.0
  16. 16. Forgery by the Resistance “Resistance members soon started to forge identification cards at a large scale… However, forged documents could be easily detected because they could be compared against the records in the civil registries… Some civil servants were willing to falsify records in the civil registry so that they would match up with forged identification cards. Nevertheless, the civil registries remained a potent weapon in the hands of the Nazis to identify…the population who were Jewish” — Wikipedia on “Bombing of the Amsterdam Civil Registry” 16 1942 Biometric Facial Authentication CC BY-SA 4.0
  17. 17. Archives Become Target of the Resistance Despite the efforts by the Resistance to create forgeries, these archives were used by the Nazis to check forged identity cards using “proof of inclusion in the registry”, in particular those with the J on them against the civil records. The Dutch resistance tried destroy the civil archives on 28 March 1943. Unfortunately only 15% of the records were destroyed. 17 After the Bombing CC BY-SA 4.0
  18. 18. Meanwhile in France Like in the Netherlands, the French “Vichy” government also assisted in Nazi deportation of Jews and other “undesirables”. However, in 1942, the Vichy government refused to continue to arrest Jews on a large scale and send them for deportation. The Nazi’s did not control the civil archives as they did in the Netherlands. 18 CC BY-SA 4.0
  19. 19. 75% 104,000 Deaths Jewish Deaths 19 Netherlands 23% 74,000 Deaths France CC BY-SA 4.0
  20. 20. A living history After January’s Holocaust Memorial, I had lunch with a child of two survivors of Auschwitz, who was also very moved by the the event and the Prime Minister’s apology. His mother had been rounded up using this data in a razzia after protests & strikes by sympathetic Dutch citizens. His father fled and was hidden by the resistance in Utrecht but was ultimately betrayed, probably by Nazi’s using civil data as an early social network analysis. 20 CC BY-SA 4.0
  21. 21. A living history being lost When I first spoke to the Dutch Identity community about this history, older members of the community thanked me for sharing, as they felt embarrassed by it. Younger members of the community also thanked me, but told me that though they were taught about the Holocaust in school, that they never heard this particular story before. 21 CC BY-SA 4.0
  22. 22. Lessons for Today Despite the trust in government today, we never know what may happen tomorrow. Centralized architectures and immutable proofs can be used for both good and evil. 22 Archives are now the Amsterdam Zoo Cafe CC BY-SA 4.0
  23. 23. An opinion I believe that this living history from survivors of WWII is why Dutch citizens & Netherlands government are so supportive of the human-rights privacy aspects of GDPR, and I believe part of the reason why Self-Sovereign Identity is on the agenda here before many other countries. But Remembrance is still needed — it has been 75 years since the Holocaust. The passing of the old generations and ‘fake news’ are fading these memories. 23 CC BY-SA 4.0
  24. 24. How can we be heroes? “Where are the false identification cards and fake baptismal certificates in a world of immutable records? How can honest to goodness hero fake an ID in a world where IDs can’t be faked?” — Thomas J Rush (@quickblocks) 24 Carl Lutz forged documents saving 62,000 Jews CC BY-SA 4.0
  25. 25. Still a need for Trustless Solutions Nationalism, tribalism and xenophobia are on the rise across the world. ● In Russia (Putin) Brazil (Bolsonaro), Great Britain (Johnson), Poland (Kaczynski), Turkey (Erdogan), the USA (Trump), and more. ● Normalization of xenophobia encourages violation of human rights ● Academics, critics, journalists, Muslims, and transgender people have all been targeted. ● Facial recognition is becoming adopted worldwide ● Covid-19 pandemic is causing nation-states to collect location info ● These new dangers require new ways to protect human rights 25 CC BY-SA 4.0
  26. 26. But we need both! The Netherlands today is a “high-trust” society. The citizens trust the government, and the government trusts the citizens. This is good! We want this! But this is not true everywhere. And LESS Identity is where the money is — Self-Sovereign Identity has deep “trustless” roots, but almost all the major advancements in the last two years have been in projects for commerce and are to be recognized as legal by governments. But as standards emerge, don’t lock out the “trustless” solutions — they serve different needs not served by LESS Identity. 26 CC BY-SA 4.0
  27. 27. An Identity Community Foremembrance I would like to see at Sunset in Amsterdam on 27 March that the self-sovereign and larger identity community have a moment of silence. A Forward Rememberance, a #Foremberance. To remember sculptor Gerrit van der Veen who forged 80,000 Jewish civil records, and author and painter Willem Arondeus and 11 others who were found guilty of attempting to destroy the civil archives and thus were executed by the Nazis. To salute all those who died to protect the defenceless in WWII, who eased suffering in genocides past, and fought discrimination and totalitarianism. 27 CC BY-SA 4.0
  28. 28. An Identity Community Foremembrance To foremember about those today at the front. The protesters in Hong Kong, those trying to discover details about the Xinjiang “re-education” concentration camps in western China, the government of Gambia taking Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi to court here in the The Hague to demand protection for the Rohingya, to those protecting immigrant children on the US Mexico border or protecting us against Cambridge Analytica-like attacks this years elections, and to all those protecting minority communities such as gays, transexuals, and more. And to salute all those defending the vulnerable. 28 CC BY-SA 4.0
  29. 29. 29 Christopher Allen | Executive Director | Blockchain Commons ▪ Co-Chair W3C Credentials CG ▪ Co-Inventor & Architect of Decentralized Identifiers ▪ Author Design Principles of Self-Sovereign Identity ▪ Co-Author SSL/TLS ▪ Former Principal Architect, Blockstream ▪ Former CTO Certicom ▪ Former CEO Consensus Development ▪ Former Faculty Email: Twitter: @ChristopherA · CC BY-SA 4.0 International