Microsoft outlines vision for future of digital identities

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 14 February 2018
Microsoft outlines vision for future of digital identities

Alex Simons, director of program management in Microsoft’s Identity Division, has revealed that Microsoft has been incubating a set of ideas for using blockchain (and other distributed ledger technologies) to create new types of digital identities – identities designed from the ground up to enhance personal privacy, security and control.

“We’re pretty excited by what we’ve learned and by the new partnerships we’ve formed in the process,” he says in a post on Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security blog.

Ankur Patel, who works in Simons’ team, goes on to explain why Microsoft is committed to working in this space.

“As many of you experience every day, the world is undergoing a global digital transformation where digital and physical reality are blurring into a single integrated modern way of living,” he says. “This new world needs a new model for digital identity, one that enhances individual privacy and security across the physical and digital world.

“Microsoft’s cloud identity systems already empower thousands of developers, organisations and billions of people to work, play, and achieve more. And yet there is so much more we can do to empower everyone. We aspire to a world where the billions of people living today with no reliable ID can finally realise the dreams we all share like educating our children, improving our quality of life, or starting a business.

“To achieve this vision, we believe it is essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity. Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it.

“Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all elements of our digital identity.  This self-owned identity must be easy to use and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used.

“We know that enabling this kind of self-sovereign digital identity is bigger than any one company or organisation. We’re committed to working closely with our customers, partners and the community to unlock the next generation of digital identity-based experiences and we’re excited to partner with so many people in the industry who are making incredible contributions to this space.”

Patel explains that, through its latest efforts using blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, Microsoft is hoping to enable richer experiences, enhance trust, and reduce friction – all while empowering every person to own and control their digital identity. Read more about what Microsoft’s Identity Division has learnt in Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security blog.

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