Blog

January 3, 2024

Kyle Martin

5

min.

ID Insights from Digital Identity Experts, pt. 2

Welcome to the second entry of Truvity's expert interview series, where we delve into the rapidly evolving world of digital identity. In this quickly-growing industry, understanding and forecasting technological advancements are crucial.

For our second in this interview series, we've been able to enjoy speaking with two more esteemed figures in the digital identity arena: Visiting professor Suayb S. Arslan at MIT and Harris Niavis, Head of Research at Inlecom.

Together, these interviews offer practical and exciting insights into the current state and future possibilities of digital identity technology. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast, a business owner, or simply curious about the future of digital identity, these insights from Suayb and Harris are not to be missed.

Suayb S. Arslan

We’ve asked Suayb S. Arslan - Visiting professor in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT - about his thoughts and ideas for the future of digital identity.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?

Hello! My name is Suayb S. Arslan, currently a visiting professor in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA. I am from the education and research world with keen interests in computational neuroscience, telecommunication industry, artificial intelligence, distributed systems and data storage.

What is the biggest challenge in identity management and digital identity right now?

I think the technology industry faces various challenges in identity management.

Maintaining the right balance between providing secure authentication methods and ensuring a smooth user experience remains a challenge. Additionally, complying with evolving data protection regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, poses another layer of complexity for identity management in the tech industry.

How do you see digital identity evolving in the coming 5 years?

I believe the shift towards decentralised solutions is inevitable, which would be epitomised by Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), it will likely empower individuals with greater control over their personal data. Biometric authentication methods, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning (or even electrophysiological data), are expected to become more widespread, offering enhanced security and user convenience.

Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies will play a more crucial role in securing and managing digital identities, while the widespread adoption of mobile IDs stored on smartphones is anticipated.

What use cases do you see in your industry for more modern ways of doing identity?

I think the most relevant one is SSI. SSI aims to give individuals greater control over their personal information and how it is shared online.

I can think of a few potential use cases for SSI:

  1. User authentication, authorization, and identity verification can provide a decentralised and user-centric approach to authentication. This way it reduces reliance on centralised identity providers.
  2. SSI has the potential to simplify cross-border identity verification by providing a standardised and interoperable framework.
  3. It helps to improve secure data sharing. SSI allows users to share encrypted and verified credentials directly with other parties, reducing the need for intermediaries.
  4. SSI can be applied to establish decentralised and secure identities for Internet of Things (IoT) devices using blockchain-like consensus.
  5. User control and verifiable credential can also contribute to reducing identity fraud by providing a more tamper-resistant and transparent way of establishing and verifying an identity.
  6. Lastly, SSI, as part of modern identity management, can help organisations comply with stringent data protection regulations by placing individuals in control of their personal data.

Harris Niavis

We’ve asked Harris Niavis - Head of Research at Inlecom - about his thoughts and ideas for the future of digital identity.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?

I am leading the web3 and cybersecurity team at Inlecom Innovation, Athens, Greece, while serving the role of a project manager in research projects and preparing bids for EC funds. I have more than 10 years-experience participating in large‑scale researches. My Interests lie in the area of permissioned and permissionless blockchains, SSI, distributed networks, wireless communications and IoT.

What is the biggest challenge in identity management and digital identity right now?

I design and develop solutions for identity management in the context of different domains i.e. IoT, supply chain management, transport systems, manufacturing, e-governance and public administration. Each domain has its own specific challenges, but I would say that the biggest challenge across domains is to design user-friendly interfaces that will be trusted by the end-user and will be easy to operate, no matter the underneath complexity.

What use cases do you see in your industry for more modern ways of doing identity?

Self-Sovereign Identity is the way forward and its principles already define the sector of identity management to enable more private, secure and transparent architectures. It can be applied to a wide spectrum of use cases to design zero trust architectures, from general ones such as user authentication/authorisation and university diplomas, to more specific ones like IoT device lifecycle management, border control and smart manufacturing.

How do you see digital identity evolving in the coming 5 years?

Digital identity is evolving, and we will see drastic changes in the coming 5 to 10 years towards more user-center approaches that will give control of identity data to the user. Several regulations and directives are coming out, especially in the EU (e.g. EUDI Wallet) that will enhance interoperability, transparency and most importantly trust by the users. Blockchain will play an important role, but only as a backend component for verifiability and transparency, while identity agents residing closer to the user/device will manage privacy-preserving exchange of identity data.

What advice would you give to developers looking to implement self-sovereign identity technology?

SSI is a very challenging concept to grasp and disrupts the centralized identity management concept, so pay attention to user engagement since the early design stages. Comply with standards to achieve interoperability which is the number one technical challenge right now. Also, using open-source libraries is of paramount importance to develop secure components.

Thanks to both Suayb and Harris for sharing your knowledge!

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