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Re: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

From: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 12:36:30 +0000
To: Jim St.Clair <jim.stclair@lumedic.io>, Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@evernym.com>, "Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web)" <mwherman@parallelspace.net>
CC: sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com>, "W3C Credentials CG (Public List)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Message-ID: <3EE8F1BA-599F-4106-A00C-E8A52D4F8EF2@adobe.com>
> Granted, I’d like to steer the ISO 18103-5 community in the same direction in accepting VCs/DIDs, but it’s still not ultimately an SSI architecture.
And that is also part of the problem, Jim…we have tied these three concepts together: SSI, VC and DID.    And yet, they each can stand on their own and serve in many use case there you don’t want/need any of the others.   If we want these to be successful, we should make them successful on their individual merits and not on the establishing a “forced triumvirate”.

Yes, the first word in DID is decentralized, and it’s unfortunate because the standard itself allows for the use of non-decentralized DIDs…


From: "Jim St.Clair" <jim.stclair@lumedic.io>
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 4:40 PM
To: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>, Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@evernym.com>, "Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web)" <mwherman@parallelspace.net>
Cc: sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com>, "W3C Credentials CG (Public List)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Subject: RE: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

“VC and DID are *NOT* decentralized.”

  *   Isn’t the first word in DID decentralized?

“They can (and SHOULD!) be used just as easily with either Centralized or Federated models.”

  *   Sure. Then they’re probably not SSI.
“they could adopt VC & DID technologies under the current eIDAS regulations (which are X.509 based)”

  *   So I’m going to issue a Decentralized Identifier ties to an X.509 certificate, issued from an EKMS?

Granted, I’d like to steer the ISO 18103-5 community in the same direction in accepting VCs/DIDs, but it’s still not ultimately an SSI architecture.

Best regards,
Jim St.Clair
Chief Trust Officer
jim.stclair@lumedic.io<mailto:jim.stclair@lumedic.io> | 228-273-4893
Let’s meet to discuss patient identity exchange: https://calendly.com/jim-stclair-1<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcalendly.com%2Fjim-stclair-1&data=04%7C01%7Clrosenth%40adobe.com%7C43c1da5f0a814f9ca65008d8ee3bef22%7Cfa7b1b5a7b34438794aed2c178decee1%7C0%7C1%7C637521288486532915%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=LHZ4zNdg4CL4nSW6eywlBF6b7%2BJV8s3B4TCzXjhWSp0%3D&reserved=0>

From: Leonard Rosenthol <lrosenth@adobe.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:27 PM
To: Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@evernym.com>; Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web) <mwherman@parallelspace.net>
Cc: sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com>; W3C Credentials CG (Public List) <public-credentials@w3.org>
Subject: Re: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

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That picture, Drummond, is what causes me the most problems in trying to get adoption of the various technologies coming from this group.

VC and DID are *NOT* decentralized.   They can (and SHOULD!) be used just as easily with either Centralized or Federated models.

But people see diagrams like this and take away the message that if they wish to adopt VCs and/or DID, that they *MUST* also adopt a decentralized model, possibly involving a blockchain.  And that is simply not true!!!  I recently spent an hour or so on a call as part of an ETSI/ESI (European Standards around security and signatures) meeting trying to express to them how they could adopt VC & DID technologies under the current eIDAS regulations (which are X.509 based) without having to change them to support BC/DLT technologies.

So I, for one, would ask you to PLEASE stop using that diagram.


From: Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@evernym.com<mailto:drummond.reed@evernym.com>>
Reply-To: "drummond.reed@evernym.com<mailto:drummond.reed@evernym.com>" <drummond.reed@evernym.com<mailto:drummond.reed@evernym.com>>
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 12:59 PM
To: "Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web)" <mwherman@parallelspace.net<mailto:mwherman@parallelspace.net>>
Cc: sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com<mailto:sankarshan@dhiway.com>>, "W3C Credentials CG (Public List)" <public-credentials@w3.org<mailto:public-credentials@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)
Resent-From: <public-credentials@w3.org<mailto:public-credentials@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 12:57 PM

Michael, the definition is in the first sentence of Chapter 1:

Self-sovereign identity—commonly abbreviated SSI—is a new model for digital identity on the internet: i.e., how we prove who we are to the websites, services, and apps with which we need to establish trusted relationships to access or protect pri- vate information.

That broad definition was a deliberate choice on behalf of Alex Preukschat and I as co-authors of the book. SSI is a digital identity model (not just an architectural model, but also a governance model) that is significantly different than in the digital identity models of the previous two eras of Internet trust infrastructure, per this diagram that I now show at the start of all my talks on SSI and ToIP to establish the overall context.


On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 9:27 AM Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web) <mwherman@parallelspace.net<mailto:mwherman@parallelspace.net>> wrote:
Hi Drummond, I’ve read through Chapter 1 of the Manning book just now (https://livebook.manning.com/book/self-sovereign-identity/chapter-1/v-11/88<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flivebook.manning.com%2Fbook%2Fself-sovereign-identity%2Fchapter-1%2Fv-11%2F88&data=04%7C01%7Clrosenth%40adobe.com%7C43c1da5f0a814f9ca65008d8ee3bef22%7Cfa7b1b5a7b34438794aed2c178decee1%7C0%7C1%7C637521288486542871%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=EKOI5aQbTQnwXZIKD%2Fn4uYHv0vAPfEzVpQM7LIAlFAc%3D&reserved=0>) and couldn’t a succinct nor operational definition for the term/concept of Self-Sovereign Identity.

The chapter talks “all around” the topic of Self-Sovereign Identity but didn’t seem to conclude with an actual definition.  Did I miss it?

Michael Herman
Far Left Self-Sovereignist

From: Drummond Reed <drummond.reed@evernym.com<mailto:drummond.reed@evernym.com>>
Sent: March 23, 2021 10:02 AM
To: sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com<mailto:sankarshan@dhiway.com>>
Cc: W3C Credentials CG (Public List) <public-credentials@w3.org<mailto:public-credentials@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)

+1 to Adrian Doerk's definition in his thesis (which I highly recommend, BTW—Adrian's work is very comprehensive and thorough).

FWIW, even though the forthcoming Manning book<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.manning.com%2Fbooks%2Fself-sovereign-identity&data=04%7C01%7Clrosenth%40adobe.com%7C43c1da5f0a814f9ca65008d8ee3bef22%7Cfa7b1b5a7b34438794aed2c178decee1%7C0%7C1%7C637521288486542871%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=OJk%2FxdGHsFGkbRKkvtoksUfntM1NlHjH8EwVC9J8Zlk%3D&reserved=0> of which I'm a co-author (along with 54 contributing authors) is titled "Self-Sovereign Identity: Decentralized Digital Identity and Verifiable Credentials", in the opening chapter we explain the origin of the term and then recommend (and enforce throughout the rest of the book) simply calling it "SSI"—which is also what I see happening in the market. I predict that within the next 2-3 years, many who have become comfortable with the term "SSI" won't even know that it is an acronym or what it stands for (just as many today don't know what "IBM" or "ATM" stand for).

As a final point, I was a speaker this morning on a webinar hosted by Condatis called "Scaling Digital Trust in Healthcare" where Charlie Walton, VP Digital Identity at Mastercard, shared the following slide, which is the first time I've seen the term "Commercial SSI".


On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 6:54 AM sankarshan <sankarshan@dhiway.com<mailto:sankarshan@dhiway.com>> wrote:
On Tue, 23 Mar 2021 at 18:40, Michael Herman (Trusted Digital Web) <mwherman@parallelspace.net<mailto:mwherman@parallelspace.net>> wrote:
RE: "Decentralized identity" is a *better* choice. Others use "self-asserted," I think this has some of the same socio-cultural issues that "Self-sovereign" has.

  1.  QUESTION: Why is there this pervasive (pandemic?) of thinking spreading across so many of our communities (CCG, SF, ToIP, etc.) about giving in to this type of authoritarian, centralizationist thinking?
Why are people giving up on self-sovereignty in such large numbers?
Reference: https://hyperonomy.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/model-2c.-social-evolution-self-sovereignty-political-spectrum-1.png<https://nam04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fhyperonomy.files.wordpress.com%2F2021%2F02%2Fmodel-2c.-social-evolution-self-sovereignty-political-spectrum-1.png&data=04%7C01%7Clrosenth%40adobe.com%7C43c1da5f0a814f9ca65008d8ee3bef22%7Cfa7b1b5a7b34438794aed2c178decee1%7C0%7C1%7C637521288486552820%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=XBoK7aRF2MIBPMruv4Xuddscc1qhs6S0HUvBaSoqHaE%3D&reserved=0>
The representation such as the above often create an all-or-nothing inference on the topic of SSI. It feels appropriate to cite a recently published work Doerk, Adrian. (2020). The growth factors of self-sovereign identity solutions in Europe. 10.6084/m9.figshare.14182586. and especially

We use the terminology of self-sovereign identity for describing a concept of giving individuals or organizations control over their digital identity. The identity resides with the identity subject in question, who is central to its administration. Sovereignty implies that individuals are equal among peers and are not administered by a central authority. This doesn't mean that individuals can suddenly issue themselves a new passport. Instead it means that individuals have control over how their personal data is shared and used. Moreover, individuals can now choose whether they would like to reveal their personal data and also which kind of data they would like to share in the event of a transaction or interaction. Through the use of cryptographic proofs SSI enables verifiability for all involved parties.

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Received on Wednesday, 24 March 2021 12:36:58 UTC

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