SSI is shorthand for Self-Sovereign Identity but what does that mean?
SSI means that an entity, be that an individual, business, vessel or aircraft, has ownership over data associated with identifying it or them. In addition, that entity, the identity owner, has complete control over how, when, what, and to who the data is revealed.
SSI enables entities to interact in the digital world with freedom, trust and security.
The identity owner holds any issued documents and certificates.
These documents and certificates may be presented to prove something about their identity.
The documents and certificates that can be used, vary, for example, birth certificate, proof of a university degree, business license or even citizenship.
With SSI, the physical world, is replaced by a digital world, removing the need for paperwork.
Digital claims are issued by trusted sources.
The below illustration shows claims being issued by a trusted source. These are issued to the identity owner and can be verified by third parties. An identity owner enables access to these verifiable claims to people or businesses they wish to interact with. These digital claims are trusted and proven. For example, a bank issues a verifiable claim that an identity owns a specific credit card. The identity owner claims they own a particular credit card to an online ecommerce business, this business can verify the claim made, because it can see that the bank has issued the verifiable claim. The identity owner and card can therefore be trusted.
With SSI, you no longer release control of sensitive identification
information to businesses and systems each time you want to access new services. This removes the risk
associated with those services suffering a cyber attack and your personal data being stolen.
The primary rule of SSI is that no one platform or organisation can control your identity. Therefore, it reduces the risks of it being stolen or exploited.