ZorroSign CEO Urges Congressional Task Force to Make Blockchain a Key Part of Efforts to Secure Digital Identity and Preserve Online Privacy
H.R. 4258 would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a new framework of standards to guide government agencies when providing digital identity verification services.
Earlier this month Shamsh Hadi, CEO of ZorroSign, Inc. – a technology company based in Phoenix, AZ – submitted testimony to a Congressional panel examining digital identity and privacy issues. “The thoughtful and intentional employment of blockchain to safeguard personal data is one way to achieve the dual goal of protecting consumers while at the same time preserving the economic and social benefits of data,” said Hadi, who is also a founding member of the Association for Data and Cyber Governance (ADCG).
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On July 16, 2021 the House Committee on Financial Services’ Task Force on Artificial Intelligence held a hearing entitled “I Am Who I Say I Am: Verifying Identity while Preserving Privacy in the Digital Age.” The hearing examined how federal and state governments can best set interoperability requirements and standards for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies that can improve modern smartphones’ processing and sensor capabilities and enable the creation of a high quality and privacy-preserving secure digital identity (ID). The hearing also looked at the future of digital identity frameworks, examining how the emerging technologies (including AI, blockchain, and other distributed ledger technology) could contribute to building digital ID.
Hadi, a blockchain expert, focused his testimony on the critical role blockchain can and should play in the efforts to better secure digital identity and also preserve individual privacy. “Blockchain is important because it has unique qualities that set it apart from other transaction database management systems,” noted Hadi in his testimony. “Specifically, blockchain is being used today in private, permissions-based decentralized systems that are secure, trusted and automated with bank grade security. Ultimately, blockchain technology helps make digital transactions more secure, faster and less expensive.”
Hadi suggested that one important step the U.S. Congress could take this year is approving the Improving Digital Identity Act of 2021, bi-partisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month by U.S. Reps. Bill Foster (D-IL), John Katko (R-NY), Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Barry Loudermilk (R-GA). The bill would establish a task force to bring together key federal agencies with state and local government representatives to develop secure methods for government agencies to validate identity attributes to protect the privacy and security of individuals, and support reliable, interoperable digital identity verification tools in the public and private sectors. The bill, H.R. 4258, would also direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create a new framework of standards to guide government agencies when providing digital identity verification services – placing an emphasis on privacy and security.
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In his testimony Hadi asserted that “enactment of this bill into law will ensure that the United States remains a world leader when it comes to online privacy and security. Indeed, the future of our economy depends on the U.S. government tackling this issue and doing everything possible to ensure that the United States is on the cutting edge when it comes to digital identity verification services.” Hadi applauded the chair of the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, U.S. Bill Foster (D-IL) for authoring the bill and being a leader in Congress when it comes to digital identity and online privacy issues.
Hadi also suggested to the Task Force that it “consider ensuring that any legislation that sets national standards for consumer user privacy and data security require that any business or government entity that collects a consumer’s Personal Identifiable Information (PII) have in place systems, products and services that ensure the privacy and security of that consumer’s personal information and their data.”
Hadi concluded his testimony by stating that “blockchain represents a viable solution for many of the challenges facing both our country and the global community when it comes to digital identity, privacy and combating identity theft. At the very least, blockchain needs to be one of several emerging technologies that can and should be employed to better verify digital identity and preserve privacy.”
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