February 26, 2018

Microsoft Plans to Use Blockchain to Secure Personal Data

Over the past year, Microsoft has been working to develop a blockchain-based digital identity platform to secure its users’ identity and sensitive information.

In 2017, Microsoft has been looking into creating new types of digital identities that would help increase data privacy and control. “Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure, encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it”, the company said in a recent blog post.

Microsoft’s Future Plans

In January 2018, Microsoft formally joined ID2020 Alliance, a global partnership that aims to help those who lack any legal proof of identification. According to Ankur Patel, principal product manager at Microsoft’s Identity Division, the company plans to work with other industry groups to allow its “self-sovereign digital identity platform”.

Currently, Microsoft’s Authenticator App is already being used by millions of users as a way to prove their identity. The Microsoft Authenticator App generates six-letter tokens that allow temporary access to websites and other types of services. Patel states that Microsoft will eventually experiment with Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) to manage identity data. By doing so, only the user’s ID is rooted on chain. The user’s identity data is then stored in an off-chain hub that Microsoft can’t see. In other words, no government or other centralized entity would have control over an individual’s personal data in a public blockchain. Blockchain would therefore allow Microsoft users to have control in securely storing their personal data.

How Blockchain Works

Source: G2 Crowd.

Microsoft states that nowadays, “users grant broad consent to countless apps and services for collection and retention of their data for use beyond their control. […] With data breaches and identity theft becoming more sophisticated and frequent, users need a way to take ownership of their identity.” Microsoft says it will eventually share more information on how to plan to implement blockchain technology in upcoming blog posts.

Although blockchain technology is nothing new, a B2B reviews platform named G2 Crowd predicts that an increasing number of information storage systems will start to implement blockchain-secured systems in 2018.