Hu-manity to Use IBM Blockchain for “Self-Sovereign Identity” in Health Data Venture


Search for “Self-Sovereign Identity” for IBM Leads Them to Health Data Venture

Ever since data begun being shared online, there have been thousands of security threats. Companies now have to have disclaimers of how they could possibly share information in their terms and conditions, while consumers have to completely agree to these stakes. Otherwise, they are denied registration, or it cannot even be completed. With multiple scams online, there is a growing concern that someone’s personal and identifying information will ultimately be released.

The problem with this industry is that individuals lack control over their own information. Luckily, teams like IBM’s blockchain division are seeking to expand how much they can realistically support in the industry. For IBM, it seems that they are trying to develop an industry that is built upon “self-sovereign identity,” which means that they have to seek to innovate their blockchain’s uses. The whole point of blockchain technology is to provide transparency, but this new industry helps consumers have control over their personal information as they wish.

In a new announcement on August 6th, this group indicated that they are now working alongside Humanity.co, which just published an app on iOS and Android called #My31. This name comes from the concept that citizens should have full control and ownership over their own data, which should be considered the “31st human right.” Right now, the United Nations have named 30 different rights that people are officially entitled to.

This collaboration is just one of the many projects that IBM has taken on lately. Some of the projects also include a bank that is working on a digital ID system in Canada called SecureKey, and a company that is using the Indy toolkit to support blockchains on a Hyperledger called Sovrin. Following these partnerships, it is clear that Hu-manity’s collaboration is a sign that there is a potential for a long-term use case.

While speaking with CoinDesk, general manager Marie Wieck of IBM Blockchain said,

“Getting people's permissioned rights on a blockchain will create a marketplace and entirely new economic business models as a result.”

The plan is that the two companies can work together on an enterprise version of the #My31 app, which will hopefully launch in the healthcare industry early last year.

Wieck added,

“We tend to agree that data is the next natural resource and like a natural resource has to be mined responsibly in the same way. Blockchain combined with the notion of rights to individual data, facilitates the distributed sharing of that information securely and at scale.”

The founder and CEO of Hu-manity, Richie Etwaru, had similar beliefs about the way that this technology can be used. With the health records database soon available, they believe that there will be other opportunities for users to “own” information about themselves. Location data, search history, and e-commerce habits will not be far behind. As users establish their rights, they will also receive a title of ownership, which is much like what someone receives when they purchase a home. Everything from their signature to their personal information will be on the blockchain, but the user has the right to determine their sharing settings.

Hu-manity.co is a ledger that thrives on global consent, specifically requiring the user either reject or accept requests to release their information to specific parties. Though it is created from the IBM Blockchain, both will contribute to effectively work on Sovrin instead.

Etwaru likes the personal data of consumers to that of crude oil, saying,

“The partnership with IBM enables private blockchain to create a direct relationship between the crude data provider – the human being – and the buyer of the refined data at the end of the supply chain.”

He even added that the usual cost of transacting personal information is around $400.

Since the regulations within the United States and other areas are vague about the restrictions on personal data, every government handles it differently.

“All the power remains with those in charge of legislation, and Slovin’s purpose is to put the control in the individual’s hands. The only way that widespread adoption of this app would happen is by a call to action, and pool consensus around how laws should actually work,” according to Etwaru.

Still, there are more entities to gain from this type of permission than the holder of ownership. Instead of having the tread carefully around the potential rights of privacy around each user, businesses would have clear and concise information. Etwaru explains,

“The end buyer could have better compliance posture if they use our data and we can figure out the economics between the individual and the buyer. The pharmaceutical industry has never really been offered an explicit consenting relationship with individuals before.”

The organization of this data could thrive on the use of the app, rather than being tied up in different accounts and internets online. Wieck added,

“In clinical trials, there would be a way of tracking data and ensuring these are all real human beings and doing it at scale. Trust and transparency have been a challenge up until now.”

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