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Re: Principal Authority new article on Wyoming law defining Digital Identity

From: Jim St.Clair <jim.stclair@lumedic.io>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:55:23 +0000
To: Alan Karp <alanhkarp@gmail.com>, Moses Ma <moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com>
CC: Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>, Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>, Chris Rothfuss <Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov>, Dazza Greenwood <dazza@civics.com>, Clare Sullivan <cls268@law.georgetown.edu>
Message-ID: <MW4PR04MB71560FB95119F00A09F961E59FDC9@MW4PR04MB7156.namprd04.prod.outlook.com>
From my work in Advanced Directives in HL7, I've seen that Power of Attorneys vary from US state to state, so the high-level principles may pertain, but your mileage may vary.
Most of you have probably seen the work Sovrin has done (and still doing) on guardianship and delegation in the Guardianship WG.

Best regards,



Jim St.Clair

Chief Trust Officer

jim.stclair@lumedic.io | 228-273-4893

From: Alan Karp <alanhkarp@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2021 3:25 PM
To: Moses Ma <moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com>
Cc: Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>; Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>; Chris Rothfuss <Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov>; Dazza Greenwood <dazza@civics.com>; Clare Sullivan <cls268@law.georgetown.edu>
Subject: Re: Principal Authority  new article on Wyoming law defining Digital Identity

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Power of attorney is typically, but not always, limited.  Delegating an identity doesn't connote that it's limited.

Alan Karp

On Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 1:24 PM Moses Ma <moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com<mailto:moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com>> wrote:

Can't we use laws around power of attorney to manage delegation of rights and privileges held by your identity?


On 9/16/21 1:13 PM, Alan Karp wrote:
Delegating an identity sounds like a problem.  Does my CPA get access to my medical records?  Does my doctor end up with access to my financial information?

Alan Karp

On Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 12:42 PM Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com<mailto:ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>> wrote:
W3C Credentials Community:

I've been involved in the Wyoming legislature's Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology & Digital Innovation Technology to help form a new legal basis for future digital identity legislation in Wyoming.

There has been strong support in the legislature for concept of self-sovereign identity, but the challenge has been what existing legal framework & precedents can we build new laws from. In particular, we wanted to avoid introducing any new laws under property rights frameworks.

What we've found as a good framework is the concept of "Principal Authority" which comes from the Laws of Agency, which allows us to leverage fiduciary style Laws of Custom to define requirements for practices when digital identity is delegated to others (whether for authorization or for use of data).

I've written up a layman's article (as I am not a lawyer) introducing this topic at:


In summary:

Wyoming passed earlier this year the first legal definition for digital identity https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2021/SF0039  a key quote:

"the intangible digital representation of, by and for a natural person, over which he has principal authority and through which he intentionally communicates or acts."

So where's the self-sovereign identity in this concept of Principal Authority? In short: Principal Authority recognizes a Principal, which acknowledges the existence of an entity at the heart of a digital identity.

There's a lot more using this legal framework this implies. Since Principal Authority comes from the Laws of Agency, this allows us to show that this entity has Authority over that digital identity. In my option, that is self-sovereign identity in a nutshell!

Also, because Principal Authority is drawn from the Laws of Agency, it says that that Authority is delegatable. Other people can make use of your digital identity.

Delegation of identity happens already when you construct an account on a social media service. The difference? When it's your recognized Principal Authority that is being used, your delegates must work to your benefit. Like a CPA or doctor, their choices must be in your interest.

That's also what self-sovereign identity is all about: a digital identity that benefits you. That's not what we have today, where social media and other internet sites are using your identity to benefit themselves.

There's more detail to this, many unanswered questions, and some subtlety on what control really means and how duties of care can be established. Take a look at the article, and let me know what you think!

We will be having a public meeting on the topic of Digital Identity & Principal Authority with the Wyoming Select Committee next Wednesday (September 22nd) at 2pm MT. Details about the meeting and a link to live stream will be published next week at https://www.wyoleg.gov/Committees/2021/S19 . You can also request to offer your own public testimony during this session by emailing lso@wyoleg.gov<mailto:lso@wyoleg.gov>.

Bottom line: The concept of delegatable Principal Authority that works to your benefit may offer a new legal framework for digital identity. If you are interested in this topic, let me know.

In addition, the co-chair of Select Committee and leader of the Digital Identity subcommittee Chris Rothfuss <Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov<mailto:Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov>> is likely open to greater participation from those with legal drafting experience to work on applying this concept into customs, best practices, and duties of care for consideration by the Wyoming Legislature in the coming year. Let him know if you can help. (Like the CCG, we need more drafters than talkers!).

-- Christopher Allen

P.S. Establishing self-sovereign identity is part of the work that we're doing at Blockchain Commons. If this is important to you, please become a monthly patron! Even $20 a month as an individual (or $100 for a corporation) makes a difference!

Moses Ma | Managing Partner
moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com<mailto:moses.ma@futurelabconsulting.com> | moses@ngenven.com<mailto:moses@ngenven.com>
v+1.415.568.1068 | skype mosesma | allmylinks.com/moses-ma<http://allmylinks.com/moses-ma>
Learn more at www.futurelabconsulting.com<http://www.futurelabconsulting.com>. For calendar invites, please cc: mosesma@gmail.com<mailto:mosesma@gmail.com>

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Received on Thursday, 16 September 2021 20:55:40 UTC

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