In this paper, we describe a scalable architecture using currently available open-source decentralized identity technology for managing social security and employment verification
Decentralized identity technology addresses the legacy problem of an internet missing an identity layer for people, organizations, or things and the risk of fraud in everyday digital interaction.
It does this by adding a foundation of strong, cryptographic trust to human trust frameworks, one that enables information to be held, shared, and verified through the use of verifiable digital credentials held on mobile devices and in ways that deliver proof of the source of the information and proof of the integrity of the information within a flexible, privacy-preserving architecture.
It is not surprising to see the combination of ease of implementation, ease of use, and low cost driving implementation of this technology in the public sector. This paper lays out the case for using currently-available technology to manage social security.
Issuing a verifiable credential for a Social Security Number (SSN#) would provide a frictionless, fraud-resistant way to manage benefit and employment applications and to interact with other federal and state government services.
It would also fix a major weakness in systems that rely on the number alone: Using a SSN# as both an identifier and a security mechanism means that knowing the number is often enough to gain access to sensitive data or privileges.
But, by requiring the SSN# to be presented in a verifiable credential, simply knowing a valid number will no longer be sufficient to compromise security.
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