Avast snaps up self-sovereign identity pioneer to bolster digital freedom vision and service delivery
Avast, a global leader in digital security and privacy, today announced the acquisition of Evernym. The US company was instrumental to the invention of self-sovereign identity, with leading contributions from their Chief Trust Officer, Drummond Reed, and others in the company working within the industry standards community. This work has enabled the development of innovative products and services based on decentralized digital credentials, leading to a more trustworthy online experience.
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Evernym’s groundbreaking approach to digital identity provides consumers with autonomy over their online presence by keeping their personal information with them and out of centralized databases. Awarded ‘Technology Pioneer 2021’ by the World Economic Forum, Evernym is already embedded in industries such as travel and finance where Evernym’s technology is at the heart of the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Travel Pass, and also powers Bonifi’s ‘MemberPass’ solution for community financial institutions.
Ondrej Vlcek, CEO Avast, said, “Consumer trust in the online world has been critically compromised. Over 60% of the world’s population has internet access today yet we don’t have adequate provisions in place for these people to prove who they are online. The result is that identity theft, online fraud and account takeovers are growing rapidly, as does mass-scale digital tracking and surveillance. Our vision for digital freedom is to enable people to manage and retain control over their personal data so that they can interact and transact safely, privately and with confidence. Decentralized digital identities are a key component of that vision. Adding Evernym’s groundbreaking self-sovereign identity technology to our offering enables us to address this area and is a huge step forward in the realization of a digital world where decentralized, portable identities are available universally and globally.”
In a self-sovereign or decentralized identity model, the individual retains all of their data and chooses what data they consent to share in any transaction and who they share it with, removing the need for passwords, individual accounts, and other traditional tools which are vulnerable to being hacked, phished, and intercepted. This protects their data from being monetized by third parties, compromised in a breach, or abused for analytics. Giving the user control over their personal data is a critical part of rebuilding trust in digital services, and will enable growth in areas as diverse as online commerce, gig economy, travel, healthcare, and banking and finance, among other applications.
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Charles Walton, SVP and General Manager Identity, Avast, said, “Our identity vision is for a truly inclusive, global digital society. Our services will bridge from the existing digital world, where identities and data are stored in a centralized or federated model, to the new digital world where people are in control of their data and set the rules of engagement for online providers. We think of this as decentralizing identity, meaning individuals retain their personal information while being able to digitally interact with each other in a trustworthy manner. This reusable digital identity approach removes the friction and frustration of online transactions, guarantees safety and privacy for users, and empowers people to engage more deeply in today’s rapidly developing digital economy. Evernym is a recognized leader and innovator in this area and will complement our more than thirty years’ experience in security and privacy as we focus on delivering our breakthrough identity products.”
Steve Havas, CEO Evernym, said, “Since its founding, Evernym has been a major catalyst in the global movement towards decentralized identity. We have led the development of new identity standards, built the world’s first decentralized identity network, and launched a globally leading platform for enabling individuals to securely share their personal information. Combining our decentralized identity leadership with Avast’s globally trusted reputation for protecting individuals is a perfect combination to help bring back privacy and trust in everyone’s digital interactions everywhere, every time.”
The acquisition is expected to close in mid-December and the general availability of the products based on the Evernym technology will follow in 2022.
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