W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > November 2017

Room for government DIDs?

From: David E. Ammouial <da@weeno.net>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2017 20:52:22 -0500
To: public-credentials@w3.org
Message-ID: <9476ae7be46ed59266177eb18751a8f5@weeno.net>
Hello,

I recently joined the few identity-related workgroups, out of interest 
for the general subject of decentralised digital identity. I like the 
idea of DIDs a lot because I find it refreshingly realistic to 
acknowledge the existence of multiple identity "worlds" rather than 
trying to create one meant to be the only one. I'm using the world 
"refreshingly" because it really brings back the original spirit of an 
internet that is diverse at all levels.

Back to the subject of this email. Governments' attempted monopoly of 
the concept of people's identity is something I personally dislike. You 
are not defined by what a government accepts or says about you, but by 
what you say and accept about yourself, and maybe by what the people you 
care about say and accept about you. However, in some situations those 
"people you care about" do include governmental entities, for practical 
definitions of "caring". :)

To give a concrete example, you might want to allow your "legal self" to 
act upon your Sovrin/uPort/V1/X identity through an institution or a 
company. For example if a government entity provides a facial 
recognition API to authenticate people, that would correspond in 
practice to a service of a "did:gov" method. Proving that you are who 
you say you are (in legal terms) can be something desirable.

What would be the practical steps of introducing a "did:gov" method? I'm 
thinking of a schema like:

     did:gov:XX:xxxxxxx

Such an identity would be issued by the government of country XX (e.g. 
US, FR, PE, etc.). The last bit would depend on the rules of each 
particular country. For example Peru has different types of identity 
documents: DNI (documento nacional de identidad) for nationals, CE 
(carné de extranjería) for residents that are not nationals, and a few 
others. In that context, Peru would perhaps define DIDs around the lines 
of "did:gov:pe:dni:1234345", but that would obviously be up to the 
Peruvian government to define those rules.

What do you think? There are probably technical aspects, legal aspects, 
practical aspects... I apologise if this topic has already be brought up 
in the past and I didn't read about it before posting. I did some basic 
research on the list's archive and couldn't find anything.

-- 
David
Received on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 07:43:38 UTC

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