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Talk Abstract: Michael Cholod

Identity should be owned not managed

Usernames and passwords are a fairly recent invention attributed to Internet pioneer Fernando Corbató of MIT in 1960. In fact, the username and password did not enter general use until the release of Windows NT and OS2 in the 1980s. These credentials are pivotal to shared environments like storage solutions and Cloud computing, but they come at a high cost. There is an obvious inconvenience and inherent risk of maintaining multiple usernames and passwords to control your access to multiple versions of your digital self. Furthermore, usernames and passwords have been weaponized by Social Media since the mid 2000’s when they started linking physical and personal attributes to what used to be relatively harmless metadata. Don't forget, before social media, companies like Google built very successful advertising-based business models around the collection of search and location metadata. It was Social Media companies like Facebook that added the incredibly powerful attribute: by Whom? The weaponization of user data is one of the most significant problems of the 21st Century and demands a 21st Century solution--Decentralised, self-sovereign identity owned by everyone is the most elegant solution.