“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” So goes the caption to Peter Steiner’s famous cartoon which appeared in the July 1993 edition of the New Yorker magazine, just two years after Sir Tim Berners Lee gave us the World Wide Web and the now ubiquitous web browser. Our lives have been changed dramatically since that invention, however as we approach 30 years of the Internet, we do not have a solution for Digital Identity Management that is fit for purpose. An ever-increasing amount of our lives are going online. What began as Ecommerce, online shopping and travel booking has progressed quickly to banking, healthcare, government services and many others being added every day. The advent of Cloud services has only accelerated this digital transformation – our lives will never be the same again. The average Internet user has over 90 accounts to manage with more on the way, passwords proliferate and barely a week passes by without news of another hack where millions of users details are lost or stolen. We urgently need a solution, one that puts the user in control of their own identity and their digital destiny. Much of the technology exists to help solve this conundrum, however perhaps the one key missing ingredient may finally have arrived. No one central agency should control our digital lives and Blockchain, the technology underpinning Bitcoin may have the answer, a tamperproof, secure and verifiable identity for everyone, even if you’re a dog. We are proposing an action research proposal using Blockchain for student identity to use in the storage, verification and distribution of Academic Credentials including digital badges to present an online trusted transcript – a digital CV for the 21st century.
cartoon: courtesy of Peter Steiner https://www.plsteiner.com/