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Core reasons why DIDs need to exist (was: Re: Seeking to update Decentralized Identity related slides)

From: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2018 16:45:00 -0800
To: Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>, Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <35bb2e22-c6b8-dd1f-1186-fed1b13640de@sunshine.net>
Dear CCG,

In Christopher's original post about his Zurich talk/slides, and in 
the CCG discussion this week, there's a stated need that the way to 
present what is important about DIDs has not been distilled yet.

I've been a long-time occasional poster since Web Payments nearly 10 
years ago, and I believe I have an unusual point of view, being 
largely non-technical (ie, non-code-writer, though I have a scientific 
background). And I found myself asking:

What if I had to explain this to my 70-year-old sister, who can barely 
use an iPhone (or to the other 2 billion people who vote and spend 
money on the web, but don't really know how it works underneath, or 
why DIDs will make their lives better)?

And below is what I came up with. It's radically simpler than anything 
I've seen so far; certainly too simple for most technical audiences -- 
maybe. But specialists are renowned also for sometimes only being able 
to understand things in their own specialty, and so maybe a least 
common denominator can be useful in some cases.

Anyway, here is my thinking about this:

Web Payments, 10 years ago, wanted to solve two major web commerce 

Safety and Efficiency

But to achieve this, it was realized that some form of tracing 
Identity on the web was necessary, which led to the splitting into Web 
Payments->Verifiable Claims->DIDs

And while doing this, it was realized that Privacy was crucial also, 
but could be solved by the whole system (VC and DIDs), because of two 
key aspects:

Selective Disclosure and Data Portability.

So, now, in the present, this is what has been achieved (potentially) 
by VCs/DIDs:

Safety, Efficiency, and Privacy are all going to be much better for 
*EVERYTHING* on the web; and this occurs because VCs/DIDs will ensure 
Selective Disclosure and Data Portability.

That's it. That's all I'd need to tell my 70-year-old sister.

She already knows what Safety, Efficiency, and Privacy mean, and I 
might not even *mention the words* Selective Disclosure and Data 
Portability to her (or to the other 2 billion people). If she did ask, 
I'd explain more about what those underlying parts mean.

Of course a more technical audience will want to know *how* DIDs and 
VCs ensure Selective Disclosure and Data Portability, and of course 
that can be explained to them then. (Encryption! Waves his hands in 
the air briefly).

But it still might be best to start with telling them that Safety, 
Efficiency, and Privacy are the main gains; Selective Disclosure and 
Data Portability are the means to them; and that VCs/DIDs are in turn 
the means to the Selective Disclosure and Data Portability.

Finally, before writing this, I did a test on Christopher's slide 
number 28, where he gives the 10 principles of SSI. In my opinion, all 
10 those principles are actually explainable under Selective 
Disclosure and Data Portability, as follows (principles that appear 
under both are in brackets):

Selective Disclosure:

Data Portability:

Steven Rowat

On 2018-11-05 3:54 PM, Christopher Allen wrote:
> Thank you everyone for sharing your slides! Very helpful, though there 
> were many good ideas elsewhere I was unable to puzzle how to fit in. 
> Next time.
> I did succeed in updating a lot of the terminology for my talk tonight 
> in Zurich to the latest language & integrated at least a few of the 
> better approaches from others that I felt were more effective than my 
> own. Also, many thanks to Joe & Markus who reviewed over the weekend 
> an early draft.
> New to this talk is I explicitly separate the Ideology from the 
> Architecture, and each could potentially stand alone. I agree with Joe 
> that using the term “movement” rather than ideology is likely better, 
> but I didn’t change it as the title of talk was already advertised 
> (and I think I’d need new images).
> I received a lot of positive feedback here in Switzerland on the 
> ideology part of the talk, but it still needs work. In particular I 
> felt Kaliya’s social context recursive triad definition of identity 
> leads better into DIDs than Joe’s functional identity definition. I 
> like aspects of both but wasn’t able to integrate them.
> The Architecture section is weaker. I tried to explain why we focused 
> on DIDs first, but it wasn’t as easy a coherent story to tell. Best 
> I’ve done to date, but feel I lost even some of my tech audience there.
> The story connection from DID Docs to VCs was particularly weak. Some 
> tell the story VC first/DIDs second, and I can see why, but right now 
> the DID story is more important. We know decentralized is important 
> but we are not yet effective is saying why yet.
> A lot of stuff is missing in section on future work: not sure how to 
> present things like pair-wise DIDs & selective disclosure when only 
> one party plans to implement it. I work hard in my talks to be as 
> impartial/agnostic to blockchains and avoid single vendor specific 
> solutions as I can.
> My final slides from last night are at:
> https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15M0tdSS1dRMVdJdVgBlFap8JwiuFdvocZ0AAu7c1eBk
> I welcome comments, improvements, re-usage, etc.
> — Christopher Allen
Received on Sunday, 11 November 2018 00:45:36 UTC

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