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Author Topic: MICROSOFT WANTS TO "PROTECT" YOUR IDENTITY WITH BITCOIN  (Read 294 times)
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May 16, 2019, 10:20:13 AM
 #1

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MICROSOFT WOULD LIKE to loosen its grip on your login. The company’s credentials are used all around the internet, especially by companies and developers who use its cloud service, Azure. But on Monday, the company unveiled a project that, using the technology that underpins bitcoin, would give you control of your own credentials, independent of any company. The question is whether you’ll want to take on the responsibility.

For blockchain enthusiasts, digital identity is one of the most tantalizing, but thus far unrealized, potential uses for the technology. The idea involves designing portable credentials that would work a bit like Facebook Connect, allowing seamless access to all sorts of applications. But instead of Facebook or Microsoft holding the keys, you would. Proponents argue that would be a boon for privacy, because no one could follow your activity around the internet. They also say it would help curb major leaks and hacks, since large pools of user data would be less likely to be stored in one place. Eventually, more complex and sensitive forms of data, from insurance cards to passports, could perhaps be stored in a decentralized digital form.

That’s a long way off, given the balkanized state of crypto—and the internet at large. For a digital ID to work everywhere online, it needs buy-in from all the places that currently covet your login. Ideally, it would work across different blockchains, so competing ID systems don’t arise. So Microsoft, which last year laid out a vision for a “self-sovereign digital identity” that could potentially scale to billions of users, is working with partners. The company is developing open source protocols and standards with the World Wide Web Consortium and the Decentralized Identity Foundation, whose members include Aetna, IBM, and Mastercard. Facebook, which is exploring blockchain technology and whose CEO has mused about a digital identity concept, is notably not a member.

Microsoft’s choice of bitcoin is curious. Bitcoin is notoriously slow, which has been a barrier to using it for much more than speculation. Microsoft plans to get around the limitations with a so-called “layer-two” solution that stores and accesses your data away from the blockchain, using InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Microsoft says its solution, dubbed ION, can potentially scale to allow tens of thousands of operations per second. (Bitcoin itself can handle fewer than 10.)

Ari Juels, a professor at Cornell and former chief scientist at RSA, says Microsoft’s use of bitcoin is surprising—and welcome. “A well-established player like Microsoft embracing an anti-establishment technology is certainly a big deal,” he says. At this early stage, Microsoft could have been expected to use a “permissioned” blockchain, like the ones run by JP Morgan and IBM. They offer fewer technical challenges but ultimately are controlled by centralized institutions. Instead, Microsoft is tackling the challenges of making a truly decentralized solution for a large number of users.

There’s still a long way to go to design a system that’s truly private and smooth enough to avoid irking ordinary internet users, Juels adds. His group at Cornell is working on some problems, such as issuing credentials in a way that preserves privacy, and how people will take care of their security keys—the “Achilles heel” of any decentralized system, he says. (WIRED knows that better than most.) There are questions, too, about whether the current protocols can be trusted as a safe home for user data. While bitcoin’s blockchain is generally regarded as a solid bet, having run continuously for more than a decade, a less-proven system like IPFS could mean people will want to back their data up elsewhere.

Those challenges make it hard to imagine widespread adoption anytime soon, Juels says. For all the talk of how much we value privacy, most people will quickly trade it for more convenience, opting for a centralized system that removes the headaches. But with a player like Microsoft starting to make some progress, he says, a few brave souls might just embrace decentralization.

https://www.wired.com/story/microsoft-wants-protect-identity-bitcoin/

....


Let's play a game: how many contradictions or falsehoods are contained in the above article?

Microsoft is promoting a centralized system for managing logins, they claim will decentralize the process. Microsoft claims this will enhance user anonymity when in reality centralized paradigms usually have the opposite effect.

I think the only way to know if a system like the one MSFT is proposing were truly reliable is if the code were open sourced. Yet we know microsoft trends heavily towards proprietary code end users are not allowed to audit. And so, perhaps this news story raises far more questions than it presumably can answer.

Recently, many social media platforms were caught storing end user passwords in plain text. It may represent a natural progression for this proposal to represent a sequel to that.

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May 16, 2019, 12:25:08 PM
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 #2

I think the only way to know if a system like the one MSFT is proposing were truly reliable is if the code were open sourced. Yet we know microsoft trends heavily towards proprietary code end users are not allowed to audit. And so, perhaps this news story raises far more questions than it presumably can answer.

The Microsoft of today is not the one we had in the 90s. They have become incredibly open and much more open source friendly during the last decade. Just check their GitHub:

https://github.com/Microsoft

TypeScript is a boon for every web developer and while I personally don't use it, vscode is a pretty awesome IDE.

Either way, it doesn't seem like we have yet enough information to judge on what path MS is taking here. But their planned usage of Bitcoin and IPFS is a hopeful signal. At least they are not on the forefront of permissioned blockchains (looking at you, IBM), even although their offer of running a private Ethereum instance on Azure is (was?) rather silly.

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May 16, 2019, 12:52:43 PM
 #3

Encrypt your identity in the block chain? No way, private key is the identity we need, also we don’t need to have only one identity, we can have three or four or multiple identities, one identity is the most silly idea ever because it would make tracking easy, and once your identity is inked, you can’t change the immutable blockchain, your freedom of having many identities are gone forever, you can forget about the dupes, spams, ddos and all the cool features we all love to use.

Self hating nerd that want to escape from reality into the cyberpunk.
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May 16, 2019, 11:05:30 PM
 #4

I really want to understand the CEO is not a member? It's not really clear, so who can trust these institutions, the public?
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May 16, 2019, 11:48:22 PM
 #5

The professor is definitely right. It is really a big deal for Microsoft to embrace this technology as everyone is considering them as one of the best/biggest players in technology aside from apple, google and so on.

I've also heard that the Facebook company are working their best for the security and privacy of its users. Considering blockchain as one of the talent and option for solving 2 major problems on the internet. As the old wise man said if you cannot defeat your enemy, join or adopt them. That is what Microsoft does in embracing this. (if it is really real).




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May 17, 2019, 02:16:01 AM
 #6

ION (their node software) will apparently be open source:

In the coming months, we’ll work with open source contributors and members of identity community to prepare for a public launch of the ION network on Bitcoin mainnet. During this time, the project’s code will evolve rapidly and is best suited for use by experienced developers. If you’re a developer interested in contributing, you can use the ION node installation guide to get a node up a running on your machine. Please file any bugs you notice as “Issues” in the ION repo, and submit “Pull Requests” to help accelerate development. If you’re not an experienced developer but would still like to interact with an ION node, we deployed an early preview build of ION on Azure. For more info, see DID Registration.

Maybe this could be a good thing? I could certainly see the need for something of the sort, with so many leaks of user information through security breaches because of providers' neglect. I think I'll withhold my judgement until there's a usable product, but at the end of the day, it's going to be useless unless large providers opt in. If nothing else though, I think this provides Bitcoin with much needed legitimacy among the mainstream.

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May 17, 2019, 02:34:13 AM
 #7

On the link that you provided there is no source on how did they come up with that idea about microsoft wants to protect individual's identity,
But i know that Microsoft already have integrated Blockchain on their system for Business purposes.

source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/blockchain/
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May 17, 2019, 04:19:53 AM
 #8

The professor is definitely right. It is really a big deal for Microsoft to embrace this technology as everyone is considering them as one of the best/biggest players in technology aside from apple, google and so on. I've also heard that the Facebook company are working their best for the security and privacy of its users. Considering blockchain as one of the talent and option for solving 2 major problems on the internet. As the old wise man said if you cannot defeat your enemy, join or adopt them. That is what Microsoft does in embracing this. (if it is really real).

We are hoping it is for real. Well, it is good to watch further developments from Microsoft on this matter and see if what they are claiming can be true or they are just disguising things. Eventually, the marketplace can determine if in this case Microsoft can be trusted with their words and not just hyping things up. Microsoft, Facebook and many other big firms are looking to the blockchain technology and see if there are innovations they can adopt and introduce into their respective platforms...this is a good trend for me though we have to closely watch how they gonna do their acts. The pressure for them to do something concrete on security and privacy issues is now pushing them to explore the blockchain technology and I am looking forward changes on this front.


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May 17, 2019, 04:22:54 AM
 #9

I think the only way to know if a system like the one MSFT is proposing were truly reliable is if the code were open sourced. Yet we know microsoft trends heavily towards proprietary code end users are not allowed to audit. And so, perhaps this news story raises far more questions than it presumably can answer.

The Microsoft of today is not the one we had in the 90s. They have become incredibly open and much more open source friendly during the last decade. Just check their GitHub:

https://github.com/Microsoft

TypeScript is a boon for every web developer and while I personally don't use it, vscode is a pretty awesome IDE.

Either way, it doesn't seem like we have yet enough information to judge on what path MS is taking here. But their planned usage of Bitcoin and IPFS is a hopeful signal. At least they are not on the forefront of permissioned blockchains (looking at you, IBM), even although their offer of running a private Ethereum instance on Azure is (was?) rather silly.

Codes are freely available, but why don’t they open up their operating system, office suite? For them, our approval is not important, as any corporation needs investments. Which they will receive without our approval.
As for technology, I am against its implementation, as it kills anonymity. I am not ready to store my data in the blockchain, even under a powerful digital key.

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May 17, 2019, 05:32:34 AM
 #10

Codes are freely available, but why don’t they open up their operating system, office suite? For them, our approval is not important, as any corporation needs investments. Which they will receive without our approval.

Ugh I didn't think I would ever speak up for Microsoft, but at the end of the day, they're a for-profit company. Giving away their products would be shooting themselves in the foot. That doesn't mean that they can start non-profit initiatives though, which is what this project looks like. I even think it's a good sign (albeit hyprocritical I know lol) that they're pushing for privacy.

Either way, it's your choice what to do with your data, of course. It's not like they're forcing anyone either.

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May 17, 2019, 06:12:23 AM
 #11

Thinking the other possibility, is this one way of combating piracy of their products?  I never thought that microsoft would give its users any advantage before them.  This is pure business imho.  Probably they are riding the trend since they know they will be left behind if they don't.
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May 17, 2019, 09:54:08 AM
 #12

I think they are not really aiming at decentralized ways, they are Microsoft and they have millions (maybe even billions?) of computers all around the world so making it decentralized would have been easy but then it would make it hard for them to keep updating and keep improving so they do need to have an internet connection and connect Microsoft somehow.

Moreover, I feel like the system where blockchain gives us all individual wallet address and make us have our own identity via our wallet address could potentially work for Microsoft and computers as well. Right now all of our computers do have some sort of identity code that eventually can be traced back to Microsoft who probably knows even which factory it was made in. Hence blockchain could help that a lot.


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May 17, 2019, 12:44:31 PM
 #13

Codes are freely available, but why don’t they open up their operating system, office suite? For them, our approval is not important, as any corporation needs investments. Which they will receive without our approval.

Ugh I didn't think I would ever speak up for Microsoft, but at the end of the day, they're a for-profit company. Giving away their products would be shooting themselves in the foot. That doesn't mean that they can start non-profit initiatives though, which is what this project looks like. I even think it's a good sign (albeit hyprocritical I know lol) that they're pushing for privacy.

Either way, it's your choice what to do with your data, of course. It's not like they're forcing anyone either.
Majority of the companies are basically for-profit companies and I would always support Microsoft since they have actually done a lot more good than bad over the years when compared to certain companies like Facebook etc.

This is why I treat this news with optimism and its great seeing more and more big companies utilizing the power of blockchain in different ways.




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May 17, 2019, 03:14:04 PM
 #14

There will be pros and cons if it happens. We all know that we all need security but I don't think Microsoft could provide the security that we're all looking for without giving us any doubt. There are lots of possibilities that might happen unexpectedly. If microsoft could protect the entire blockchain access, then it would be an advantage for most of users.

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May 18, 2019, 12:36:41 PM
 #15

Microsoft is a company with a lot of sense and they think so much ahead of time, they have seen that cryptocurrency is the future the world is going towards, and no matter how big your company could be, if you don't have a base in the crypto space, you will be very irrelevant in few years to come, this is why a lot of mainstream companies that knows about this are doing everything possible to make sure they have a base in the crypto space for the future.
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May 18, 2019, 01:06:57 PM
 #16

Quote
Microsoft claims this will enhance user anonymity when in reality centralized paradigms usually have the opposite effect.

If anything, anyone should just look on how Ripple does this. They will not be the first to do it but with these adoptions, this can greatly affect bitcoin in the long run.

There will be pros and cons if it happens. We all know that we all need security but I don't think Microsoft could provide the security that we're all looking for without giving us any doubt. There are lots of possibilities that might happen unexpectedly. If microsoft could protect the entire blockchain access, then it would be an advantage for most of users.

They're sharing information with Azure as what OP said in his post. It will give you doubts especially if you know nothing about the company they are giving your information to.

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May 18, 2019, 03:35:56 PM
 #17

There will be pros and cons if it happens. We all know that we all need security but I don't think Microsoft could provide the security that we're all looking for without giving us any doubt. There are lots of possibilities that might happen unexpectedly. If microsoft could protect the entire blockchain access, then it would be an advantage for most of users.
Obviously if indeed it will be prepared and held as a useful advantage, there are at least other alternatives available and may be useful. but it may not be easy to change the habits that have been done, it needs adaptation to it. but during that time indeed for good we need to at least appreciate.

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May 18, 2019, 03:50:27 PM
 #18

I've got no prigraming skills to check if they are so opened with their github or not but the general trend among leading IT companies is leading to centralization. Recently Pavel Durov (CEO of Telegram) blamed Facebook, and especially WatsApp, in lack of privacy. Even when Mark Zukerberg is claiming that they implemented end-to-end encryption they still keep saving backups on the centralized cloud.
So as we see today IT companies can make a sight they are fighting for privacy and do absolutely opposite things.
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May 18, 2019, 08:26:52 PM
 #19

Guess this is about making keys or private keys more private by allowing users to hold them themselve in decentralized manner.  I think some blockchain applications are already doing similar things.
It is indeed a great stuff coming from such company.



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May 18, 2019, 10:07:28 PM
 #20

This is why I treat this news with optimism and its great seeing more and more big companies utilizing the power of blockchain in different ways.
There is no such a thing as 'utilizing the power of blockchain'. The blockchain as general tech doesn't offer an advantage over what centralized databases legacy corporations already use. It's a buzzword hype.

Corporations will seek to leverage Bitcoin's decentralized nature as most secure network to offer their clients a wide variety of services that provide absoluteness, which is something that can't be done without Bitcoin....
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