Air transport technology provider SITA has been named as a founding steward of the Sovrin Foundation, an international non-profit organization tasked with facilitating self-sovereign identity solutions.
As a founding steward, SITA will collaborate with the Sovrin Foundation and other Sovrin stewards to create, operate and maintain the foundation’s decentralized digital identity network.
Self-sovereign identity is the concept that people and businesses can store their own identity data on their own devices, and provide it to those who need to validate it, without relying on a centralized identity system. These credentials can represent things as diverse as a passport or as simple as an airline ticket.
Sovrin identities seek to transform the current online identity system, which is open to misuse and fraud. Using self-sovereign identities could lead to lower financial transaction costs, better protection of personal information, a reduction in cybercrime, and the simplification of identity challenges for a variety of fields including travel, healthcare, banking, IoT and voter fraud.
Heather C Dahl, executive director of the Sovrin Foundation, said, “SITA has a unique role in the global air transport industry. Its community ownership and neutral position makes it ideally suited to be the first travel industry steward for Sovrin.
“The digital economy requires that individuals and businesses establish secure, private and trusted transactions but the current centralized system is flawed and subject to fraud. The Sovrin network was purpose-built to add the missing identity layer to the internet and provides a complete approach to identity from the distributed ledger to device. SITA brings decades of industry experience to help establish self-sovereign identity in the travel sector.”
Gustavo Pina, head of SITA Lab, said, “There has always been a need for people to assert their identities and today that is lacking online. In the ideal world, individuals would digitally hold all their identity data themselves which they could assert to various entities. In travel that could be at every step of the journey from booking, traveling through the airport, crossing borders and checking-in to hotels.”
SITA will work with certain airlines to trial the technology in a controlled environment. In doing so, travel industry leaders can see how self-sovereign identity might develop.
Pina added, “We know that companies would like to get personal data off their systems. With self-sovereign identity, individuals could maintain ownership of the data they need to travel and this would reduce the data management responsibilities of airlines, airports, governments and other stakeholders in the travel journey.
“There is a clear desire to move in this direction and while it might be hard to visualize today, I expect digital identities will be with us in the coming decade.”
Sovrin stewards are governed by the Sovrin Foundation’s trust framework, which seeks to prevent undue influence over the network from any single source. Other Sovrin Stewards include Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Digicert, IBM and T-Labs.