The amount of personal data held by tech companies has long been a concern. The emergence of blockchain technologies has however provided a window of opportunity for users to take charge of their privacy by maintaining a decentralized identity.
Microsoft seems to be taking the idea seriously with the unveiling of a white paper detailing the products to be offered on its Azure platform.
One of them is the identity hub that will store encrypted personal data on personal devices as well as on Microsoft’s cloud services.
This means that the user truly owns his data and he can grant permission to third parties as he wishes. This will run counter to the present arrangements where third parties have unlimited access to users’ data which is often shared without their permission.
“Every person has a right to an identity that they own and control, one that securely stores elements of their digital identity and preserves privacy,” the white paper says.
The suite of products by Microsoft also gives the user the power to revoke their data as well as manage other permissions. An open source implementation is also being developed, according to the document.
The development of the products reportedly follows decentralized identifiers (DIDs) specifications developed by the World Wide Web Foundation (W3C).
According to W3C, “DIDs are a new type of identifier for verifiable, “self-sovereign” digital identity. DIDs are fully under the control of the DID subject, independent from any centralized registry, identity provider, or certificate authority.”
According to Microsoft, the project aims to “establish a unified, interoperable ecosystem that developers and businesses can rely on to build a new wave of products, applications, and services.”
No timelines are given.