Gemalto, R3 launch blockchain personal ID verification system

Gemalto, R3 launch blockchain personal ID verification system

Digital security provider Gemalto has launched a blockchain-based identity verification system for mobile devices.

Developed with blockchain specialist R3, the GemaltoTrust ID Network enables users to give digital service providers verified and secured answers to such questions as ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Can you prove it?’, according to an announcement from the companies today.

The aim is to put users in control of their identities via a mobile app, with the back end of the system deployed on R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain.

A wallet full of identity

On the Trust ID Network, user control is enabled and managed via the ID Wallet mobile app. On this, users can add personal data to their digital identity, have it certified, and consent to share it with chosen service providers.

Only ‘attestations’ issued by trusted parties are stored on the blockchain, keeping personal data under the sole control of users.

This distributed approach to digital ID management enables service providers to “leverage ubiquitous identities certified by trusted parties, while putting users firmly in control of their data”, according to the announcement.

By creating and managing their own self-sovereign digital IDs, users can enrol with a host of different digital banking, ecommerce, and government services, said the companies, without having to go through due diligence processes for each of them.

R3 already works with over 200 banks, financial institutions, and other partners worldwide.

Under banking and data privacy regulations, all financial institutions have to implement robust KYC (know your customer), data privacy and protection procedures, and strong customer authentication. “They are therefore ideally positioned to lead the self-sovereign digital ID revolution”, said the companies.

Other service providers that rely on verified customer identities, such as public services, mobile operators, and airlines, could also reap significant benefits from the system, including the opportunity to share ID management costs, they added.

Internet of Business says

This is a promising development, because one thing missing from the digital economy has been a means for citizens to manage their own digital identities and personal data from a single point – such as a personal API.

If consent could be built into such an interface – with personal data owned and managed by the data subject – an ID management system could have wide-reaching benefits.

For example, a form of citizen-backed CSR could arise, in which citizens agree to their data being used for some purposes, but not others, while maintaining ownership and control over it – and, hopefully, being rewarded for that consent.

Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is former editor of Internet of Business, and now a key contributor to the title. He specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, blockchain, and technology strategy. He is also former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, The Inquirer, and Blockchain News, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools. Chris has also chaired conferences on robotics, AI, IoT investment, digital marketing, blockchain, and space technologies, and has spoken at numerous other events.