IfW in the News

The Digital Freedom Pass: Emancipation from digital slavery

22.08.2018

Oped by Dennis Snower, in which he argues to implement a „Digital Freedom Pass“ for users of social networks, to give them full rights on their data and digital identity.

Excerpt from the Article

(...) A small but growing number of insightful policymakers are calling for this reform. Recently, at the Global Solutions Summit, Chancellor Merkel suggested that digital data be priced and users be able to sell their data. It is not worth being half-hearted about this reform – improving data protection, granting users more information about how their data is used, etc. – though doubtlessly there will loud voices from the digital special interest groups calling for half-heartedness. A comprehensive solution – offering true emancipation – is feasible. We have the knowledge and technology to implement it. All that is required now is political will. 

The solution could be called the Digital Freedom Pass (DFP). It involves giving each person the digital equivalent of a wallet that contains verified pieces of his or her digital identity. Specifically, it gives each person a private key for an unlimited number of recipients, who can access the encrypted data only if they possess the corresponding public key. The person can then choose which identification to share, with whom and when. This makes the person ‘sovereign’ over his digital identity, commonly called ‘self-sovereign identity’ (for excellent summaries, see Der et al. 2017 and Tobin and Reed 2017).

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