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Behind SSI - self-sovereign identity - lie cryptographic technologies, such as 'public-key cryptography', 'zero-knowledge proofs' and often blockchain. These technologies give the user control over which personal data are shared with whom, while the recipient of the personal data can quickly verify them electronically. This enables secure and efficient exchange of digital information. It creates trust in digital information transactions, also between parties who may not trust each other by nature.
Thanks to SSI, data sharing becomes safer, more reliable and faster. This benefits not only the consumer but also businesses and public authorities. Through SSI, companies can easily demonstrate that they comply with the new European privacy legislation. Documents no longer need to be checked on paper, which saves time. In the Netherlands alone, it is a question of saving billions of euros in administrative costs. In addition, better and faster decision-making gives a boost to customer satisfaction.
SSI technology makes it possible for everyone to control his or her own data. As a consumer, you collect data about yourself and have it digitally signed once by, for example, the public authorities, banks, employers, insurers or educational institutions. From now on, this data can be used to enter into all kinds of (electronic) transactions. In the future, there will no longer be any reason to check papers when providing insurance or renting a car. By using SSI, complex administrative processes can be designed in such a way that you can arrange all your affairs online and in real time with a single click, completely privacy friendly. You can manage the data in your phone’s wallet app. And you decide what information you share with which parties.
SSI is making digital life increasingly convenient. For example, webshops no longer need to store personal data while having to fill in web forms, wait for certain forms to be sent to you and scan formal documents will become a thing of the past. In addition to convenience, security is also increased. You no longer run the risk of entering passwords on the wrong website (phishing), it is no longer necessary to leave a passport copy or other sensitive information in a hotel, for example, and Google and Facebook can no longer observe you. Because all parties involved are checked, there is a basis to trust each other.
TNO carries out various projects around SSI. We are investigating how SSI can be made suitable for application. Together with other parties, we develop 'use cases' into proofs of concept. In the Techruption programme, TNO works with the Chamber of Commerce, banks, pension administrators and health insurers to make their customer processes more efficient and customer-friendly.