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

From: Pindar Wong <pindar.wong@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2021 15:35:16 +0800
Message-ID: <CAM7BtUqaey+g54xqFUT7xLYaRnK_m1A368PRJ5DJ35UVVVSGtg@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Phillip D. Long" <phil@rhzconsulting.com>
Cc: Taylor Kendal <taylor@learningeconomy.io>, Steve Capell <steve.capell@gmail.com>, Heather Vescent <heathervescent@gmail.com>, "W3C Credentials CG (Public List)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
Thank you all for this very rich, thought provoking thread.

From  my end of the pond, in Hong Kong, I use a 'clothing' metaphor to
start policy level discussions.

Typically the pitch starts around the notion of human dignity, leads to a
notion of 'nakedness' and observes that we are  'naked on the internet'.

This moves to a discussion about how we  wish to make the loom, for others
to weave the cloth that we digitally wear to clothe ourselves ( Hong Kong
has a long history in the 'rag trade') -- so that we can shape the
narrative around how we wish to be perceived by society.

Should we lose this ability to shape the  societal narrative around how we
wish to be perceived (i.e. naked), then this can be considered as a loss of
privacy and the associated happiness.

While society will say will say whatever it likes about you, it should be
unequivocal what I said about myself.

This, to cut a long story short,  eventually leads to 'SAIDs' --
Self-Administered Indexed Data'

I leave it open what data is indexed -- particularly as I note that many
policy makers still  unfortunately equate unique identifiers as a means to
index or access data about you.

So to my eye, we are merely making tools for developers to ultimately weave
together our digital clothes  -- so that we can choose when and  what we
want to wear as we present ourselves to society.

In doing so, I've tried to incorporate some beautiful ideas explained to me
by Nat Sakimura ... many years ago -- albeit fueled by too much  'saké'
taken late in the evening in a lovely soba-bar in Tokyo.

I hope this imagery appeals to the poet programmers in all of us.





On Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 10:44 PM Phillip D. Long <phil@rhzconsulting.com>

> +1 to Taylor’s note below. This is very useful and offers some
> opportunities to approach the goals of individual control of personal data,
> even if steps along the way toward it are improvements but still fall short
> of desired end point. As long as the risks are a stated clearly
> improvements may fall short of perfection, but the reference point is
> current practice. Advancing beyond that toward the goal is improvement.
> Cheers,
>  Phil
> *Phillip Long, Ph.D.*
> *RHz Consulting, LLC.*
> Inquire-Listen-Design-Prototype-Analyze-Repeat
> e:phil@rhzconsulting.com
> LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/longpd/
> —
> *T3 Innovation Network, LER Pilot Projects Community Manager*
> e: phil@rhzconsulting.com,
> SNS: Twitter/Telegram @RadHertz
> LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/longpd
> On Mar 23, 2021, at 12:57 PM, Taylor Kendal <taylor@learningeconomy.io>
> wrote:
> Sending appreciation for this thoughtful and probing thread --
> without question, it takes engineers *and* poets to create a world worth
> living in. I too have been wrestling with SSI
> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://taykendesign.medium.com/identity-and-agency-2020-and-beyond-ee804a7e35c6__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rE8yQb6cc$> for
> the past few years, and this thread has added a useful new neural node to
> my often foggy mental map :)
> w/ gratitude,
> -Taylor
> https://www.learningeconomy.io
> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.learningeconomy.io__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEAPsroPA$>
> On Mon, Mar 22, 2021 at 2:32 PM Steve Capell <steve.capell@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> +1
>> The identity bit is challenging.  On the other hand, I’ve never had a
>> problem selling the idea of verifiable credentials
>> Steven Capell
>> Mob: 0410 437854
>> On 23 Mar 2021, at 5:37 am, Heather Vescent <heathervescent@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> I know folks on this list love to be precise in their language... ah,
>> gotta love the engineer's mind. But I want to provide a futurist/poet's
>> perspective.
>> As Manu wrote, and many of us know first-hand, there are socio-cultural
>> issues with the term "self-sovereign." It has baggage specifically from a
>> western individualist libertarian perspective. Some people use
>> "self-sovereign" with these assumptions attached, others fight against
>> those assumptions. The general business consensus is that that term
>> (self-sovereign) is too charged, and the interpretations people bring to
>> it, get in the way of communicating the benefits. (See Microsoft's first
>> whitepaper using Decentralized Identity & aside: I would have changed the
>> title of the Comprehensive Guide to SSI but it was already out there in the
>> world.)
>> "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. (I did a survey asking specifically this
>> question about a year ago, but I have not done a detailed data analysis, so
>> these are off the cuff comments.) IMHO, the term that will describe the
>> technology we are creating (SSI/DI/SA/DIDs/VCs) hasn't been coined yet. And
>> even more controversial, I doubt it will be coined by anyone in this
>> community or an early adopter.
>> Why? Because we are swimming in a world of biases - biases because we are
>> co-creators of the vision and technology of SSI. And we are hyper technical
>> in this community, which is not reflective of society at large.
>> I don't think this is really a big deal. Use whichever term you like with
>> the appropriate caveats until the defining term comes along. Maybe take a
>> moment to get real with yourself on why you like that particular term. A
>> lot of people like the unconscious/challenging authority attributions of
>> "self sovereign."
>> IMHO, making what we are doing/creating in this community more accessible
>> to outsiders, with their fresh view unadulterated by our years of
>> philosophical discussion is what will give us clarity on the potential
>> impact of our work here - which may lead to a better socio-cultural verbal
>> identifier.
>> -H
>> On Mon, Mar 22, 2021 at 9:22 AM victorsyntez <victorsyntez@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> +100  to this perspective, especially #3. Many Asian countries and a
>>> number of European countries consider community stability more important
>>> than individual freedoms. We can't expect them to agree with the notion
>>> that privacy and self-sovereignity of the digital identity is more
>>> important that government oversight of the digital identity.
>>> Victor.
>>> Sent from my Galaxy
>>> -------- Original message --------
>>> From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
>>> Date: 2021-03-22 6:32 a.m. (GMT-08:00)
>>> To: public-credentials@w3.org
>>> Subject: The "self-sovereign" problem (was: The SSI protocols challenge)
>>> On 3/21/21 11:57 PM, Adrian Gropper wrote:
>>> > Are we, as a community, being shy in using self-sovereign to describe
>>> our
>>> > perspective?
>>> My response below is for people that feel like the question above has an
>>> easy
>>> answer. I expect the following to be misconstrued or quoted out of
>>> context,
>>> which is sad, but here goes; everything below is said without any value
>>> judgements.
>>> Remember that not all nations and people of the world view
>>> "self-sovereign" as
>>> a purely positive thing. I'm not shy about using it, just very careful,
>>> and
>>> tend to avoid it as it tends to distract focused conversations.
>>> To speak to at least three overly-broad categories, self-sovereign is not
>>> viewed as an entirely positive thing among:
>>> 1. Authoritarian-leaning groups.
>>> 2. Non-authoritarian sovereign governments.
>>> 3. Non-western societies where the importance of the
>>>    individual is not placed above the importance
>>>    of the community.
>>> I don't think that anyone is here to support #1 above. #2 and #3 are why
>>> I
>>> tend to be careful about using the word "self-sovereign". It's useful
>>> when
>>> speaking to others that understand the nuance. It can be thoroughly
>>> confusing
>>> or shut down conversations with those that don't... and even when
>>> educated
>>> about the nuances, the message doesn't land well with the latter two
>>> groups.
>>> I end up doing far more damage control when the word "self-sovereign" is
>>> included than if I just stick to "verifiable credentials and
>>> decentralized
>>> identifiers".
>>> -- manu
>>> --
>>> Manu Sporny - https://www.linkedin.com/in/manusporny/
>>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.linkedin.com/in/manusporny/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEa0kyzDM$>
>>> Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
>>> blog: Veres One Decentralized Identifier Blockchain Launches
>>> https://tinyurl.com/veres-one-launches
>>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://tinyurl.com/veres-one-launches__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rES6vJb9w$>
>> --
>> Heather Vescent
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.heathervescent.com/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEtgLIz3g$>
>> Co-Chair, Credentials Community Group @W3C
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.w3.org/community/credentials/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEzabYLFw$>
>> President, The Purple Tornado, Inc
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://thepurpletornado.com/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEHAXil4E$>
>> Author, The Secret of Spies
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://amzn.to/2GfJpXH__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rE6Cw2Vlg$> (Available
>> Oct 2020)
>> Author, The Cyber Attack Survival Manual
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.amazon.com/Cyber-Attack-Survival-Manual-Apocalypse/dp/1681886545/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEi-E7rJA$> (revised,
>> Dec 2020)
>> Author, A Comprehensive Guide to Self Sovereign Identity
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://ssiscoop.com/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rESmABU9Y$>
>> @heathervescent
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://twitter.com/heathervescent__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEFN02kpM$> |
>> Film Futures
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://vimeo.com/heathervescent__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEedNteGI$>
>> | Medium
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://medium.com/@heathervescent/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEIwjJ9Es$>
>> | LinkedIn
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.linkedin.com/in/heathervescent/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEsUFj1SU$> |
>> Future of Security Updates
>> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/325779/__;!!IKRxdwAv5BmarQ!KB0Xnw6Trzx_kTTkM_SfV4gpjpR_zBp6w394cA15VDY4vw-fjiruve9ggsu455rEmFYgnDE$>
Received on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 07:35:42 UTC

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