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Web3.0 Powered Privacy: Decentralization for More Control and Transparencyby@gabrielmanga
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Web3.0 Powered Privacy: Decentralization for More Control and Transparency

by Gabriel MangalindanJanuary 27th, 2023
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A look at the importance of data privacy in today's digital age, where personal information is being collected, used, and shared at an unprecedented rate.

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As the global tech landscape has moved in a more decentralized direction over the last few years, the burgeoning Web3 paradigm has completely redefined the idea of individual data privacy and security. Built on blockchain technology, Web3 platforms — especially security-centric ones — store data across a network of computers and not some centralized entity, thus substantially reducing any chance of third-party hacks and exploits. 

One of the key advantages of Web3 systems is that they allow individuals to take control of their data, which is a significant departure from the current state of things, where many companies own and control sensitive information related to their users. Over the past decade, several reputable firms have been found to have compromised their clients' data.

Individuals are protected by data privacy because it prevents their personal information from being gathered, processed, or shared without their knowledge or permission. This may include names, addresses, Social Security numbers, financial information, and internet history. 

Individuals may be vulnerable to identity theft, financial fraud, and other hostile behaviors if their data is not protected. Furthermore, data privacy is critical for establishing trust between people and organizations and ensuring that personal information is treated ethically and responsibly.

Consumers may be worried about data privacy because firms and organizations often acquire a large quantity of personal data from their users, including personal identity data and browsing history, location, preferences, and even biometric data.

Companies may profile consumers and utilize this information for targeted advertising or even decision manipulation using this data.

Data breaches are also growing more regular and sophisticated, making it simpler for hackers to access and steal sensitive information. As a result, sensitive personal data may be disclosed online and utilized for fraud or other nefarious purposes.

Furthermore, governments and other organizations may get access to personal data without the users' knowledge or agreement and use it for surveillance, censorship, or other reasons. Because of the lack of transparency and control over how personal data is used, users must be more aware and take precautions to safeguard their personal information.

Misgivings galore

As mentioned earlier, there have been several high-profile cases of major companies indulging in illegally sharing their customers' private data in recent years. For example, Cambridge Analytica allegedly collected the personal data of Facebook users over many years without their knowledge. 

Another example is the Equifax data breach in 2017, in which the personal information of 143 million customers was exposed to hackers. In 2018, Google was fined $57 million by the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) for not properly obtaining user consent for targeted advertising. In the following year, 500 million guests of Marriott International had their data exposed in a data breach over four years.

In 2021, TikTok was fined $92 million by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for collecting data on children under 13 without their parent's consent. In addition, WhatsApp is currently dealing with a lawsuit in the U.K. for sharing users' data with Facebook without their consent.

Decentralized solutions are needed moving forward

With more and more individuals beginning to understand the importance of protecting their digital data, there has been a significant surge in demand for self-sovereign data custody solutions. 

One such offering is ShareRing, a decentralized platform that revamps how users exchange their data online. To elaborate, it enables users to come up with their decentralized personal identities (DID), as a result of which they can retain complete control over their information, especially from third-party surveillance.

From an operational standpoint, the project utilizes blockchain technology, specifically the ShareLedger platform. This ensures that all shared data is securely stored and managed in an immutable, distributed ledger. Moreover, it should be noted that ShareRing features two central components: ShareRing ID and ShareRing Vault. 

While ShareRing ID consists of an individual's verifiable physical documents (matched using OCR, Ai, and facial recognition technology), its Vault module can be seen as a digital representation of the person's identity (including official I.D. documents, membership credentials, academic qualifications, etc.). To put it another way, the Vault is a digital platform capable of automatedly managing and characterizing an individual's identity.

Another offering in this vein is BlockID, a 1Kosmos-based distributed identity cloud service utilizing cutting-edge biometric technology and blockchain to authenticate and confirm the identity of individuals (seeking access to various systems and programs). This contactless system is designed to provide secure and efficient verification.

With the help of identity-proofing features, users will be led on an identity enrollment journey that is best for mobile devices. Users can sign up with several forms of I.D., such as passports or driver's licenses. In addition, the protocol can use non-physical identifiers like banking credentials to verify identities even more.

When a new account is opened or a new form of I.D. is registered, the registered address and phone number are checked with the institution that issued the account or I.D. The protocol then checks the user's identity by comparing the recovered image to the user's LiveID scan. When the person's identity has been confirmed, their biometrics and identification information are stored.

Lastly, users can also check out IBM's Digital Credentials solution. It offers a secure means for exchanging information globally, allowing individuals and organizations to control how they own, manage, share and maintain their identity and information. It is built on a standard-based decentralized identity framework that empowers individuals and organizations to self-sovereign data ownership.

Users can access their digital credentials through a mobile app, and employers and other organizations can easily verify them through the platform. The solution can be used in various industries, such as education, healthcare, and finance. It also offers analytics and reporting features for organizations to track the usage of the credentials and evaluate the program's effectiveness. 

Employers and other organizations can easily verify their credentials through the platform. They can search for individuals based on specific criteria, such as name or qualifications. In addition, they can view detailed information about the credentials, such as the date they were issued and by which organization. 

What lies ahead?

Research studies estimate that over the next three years, issues related to identity theft and data breaches will grow exponentially, rising from their 2015 valuation of $3T to $10.5T during that time. Therefore, as we continue to see clear growth in the use of decentralized identity services, it stands to reason that platforms will garner an increasing amount of mainstream prominence.