Digital Identity And Voting Redefined With Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology has the potential to address most of the concerns related to digital identity and make the existing voting systems more robust and secure. Multiple blockchain startups have already made their foray into the two sectors and contributed to the security and efficacy of government data and processes.
When it comes to the security industry, identity management with the help of blockchain can help in many ways. Digital identities are a great idea, but they have a lot of issues right now. It is pretty easy to set up an identity that is fake or even to steal someone else’s identity. Passwords are commonly used, but they are not that secure, and the databases that store the passwords are often under attack by hackers.
Once any of the databases is attacked, the hacker can access all the customer data that is in the system. Blockchain could take care of some of these digital identity issues. Their identification systems are secure, irrefutable, unique, and pretty much impossible for an outside source to gain access to without the proper authorization. And there are already some companies, like ShoCard, that are building these kinds of systems. There are also many applications that make use of blockchain, to store birth certificates, residency info, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, digital identities, passports, and much more.
- Passports of the Future – ShoCard
ShoCard is an application development company that is working with the blockchain company, Block cypher. It has built prototypes that allow you to establish your identity within a secure blockchain environment. The ShoCard ID app is available on your phone and can be used to share all kinds of credentials securely.
You might not have heard of Smartrac, but it’s more than likely that you may be using their technology every day. Smartrac is the number-one provider of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and other identification chips that are inside things like passports and ID cards. One of the largest challenges that countries face while fighting identity fraud is in the authentication of the underlying documents used to build these identities. Documents like Social Security cards, birth certificates, and diplomas are currently very easy and cheap to counterfeit. Smartrac has been battling this problem with technology. Its latest innovation, dLoc, is a software authentication solution that allows feeder documents to be checked against a blockchain record.
Document data is married to a unique ID of the near-field communication tag (NFC) to create a 32-bit hash value, which is only recognizable by the issuing agency using a private key. The hash value is stored in Smart Cosmos and backed up in a public blockchain. The next step would be, the document with the dLoc verification that can be done by using a desktop reader or a mobile app on an NFC-enabled phone. What this does is that it creates two amazing things that have never been possible with paper documents:
- An unalterable history of the document, showing its true age and ownership
- Allowing certificate authorities to sign for the authenticity of a document cryptographically. So, even if the underlying paper used to create documents was stolen, it would not be signed, or if a document was taken after it was issued, it will be marked as a stolen document
After building a technology that allows for digital signatures and digital identities, it is pretty easy to authenticate the identity of the user when carrying out other actions and transactions online. This could be used for digital voting in the future, with just a few changes to the blockchain platform. The main reason that digital voting has not become a reality is that there are concerns about its privacy and security.
At @RestoreNaija #DigitalVotingSummit2019 in Abuja this afternoon, we agreed a transparent digital voting system backed with #blockchain tech to prevent rigging, is step #1 to elections we can trust. With @HamzyCODE, Hajiya Sa’adatu Abdullahi, Prez, Northern Women in Politics pic.twitter.com/qesbK42IHD
— Kingsley Moghalu (@MoghaluKingsley) November 18, 2019
Many companies have tried to perform large-scale digital voting, but so far only Estonia has been successful. In 2014, Denmark did use the blockchain technology for some small-scale voting, but it has not been expanded throughout the whole country yet.
The Brazilian research institute is building a voting platform on Blockchain technology that will promote public participation in government decisions and policy-making. The blockchain platform helps record transactions in real-time and data distribution across a network of computers. These unique features have made it foolproof to hacks since records one made are immutable.
With the help of a voting system that is based on the blockchain, a voter is able to check if their vote has been sent while making sure that their privacy is maintained and their identity is hidden. In addition, digital voting would make it easier for more people to put in their votes, especially those who live too far from a polling station or those who don’t have enough time after work.