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Enabling Appropriate Sovereignty in Web Governance


(@mike-harris)
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If we focus our Sovereignty discussions on User Sovereignty instead of national or European Sovereignty; we can begin to solve regional problems.  By doing so we would rapidly drive European economic and technological development.

Verifiable Claims has created the opportunity for individual sovereignty, inside a country's sovereignty, inside a union, inside international laws and norms. 

User sovereignty in both data and identity results in an atomic online existence, where individuals are indistinguishable from each other, and have equal rights and access to network resources.

It raises the issue of how we interact with each other when we are all equal.  From a governance perspective this is might be seen as unrealistically challenging, but that is not the case.

Consider the following scheme:  Alice obtains a credential from a regional issuer that affords her access to some arbitrary resource.  She does not need to apply.  She simply scans a QR code and agrees to follow rules to maintain access to the resource (it is essentially a permissionless privilege).  If the issuer revokes the credential, Alice loses access to the resource and reapplication is detectable.  On detection she can be held accountable for her actions.

If Alice owns the credential, she is essentially proving that she is “Honest under a Rulebook”.  She can prove it to any other network user without revealing any other aspect about herself and without communicating with the issuer.

This default-allow nature to obtaining one and only one credential from a network of issuers; facilitates a sort of whitelist of actors for a given transaction type.  It ensures there is appropriate accountability on infringement of a rulebook.  Accountability would be in various forms depending on the transaction type, but a person’s every indiscretion needn’t tattoo itself onto our online identities.

It can be thought of as proving yourself “currently honest under a given rulebook” and is possible due to Self-Certified Sybil Free Pseudonyms [Martucci 2008].

The model is extraordinarily powerful in that large networks of regionally bound institutions can assume that actors are honest until they are proven dishonest.  Without hyperbole, it is entirely possible for a network of institutions to efficiently provide privileged access to 7 billion people.


So, Alice wants to sell a designer handbag and Bob wants to buy it.  Alice proves to Bob that she is currently honest under an auction rulebook.  Bob uses a payment service. Alice ships the goods. Transaction complete.  If something goes wrong, Bob complains to the issuer of Alice’s auction privilege – <insert regional rights of appeal>


The devil is always in the detail; but it is important to note that the detail is about policy and not possibility.  The good people of EuroDIG and the IGF are therefore sorely needed, so I would appreciate your engagement as this is not technical theory - it is demonstrable today.

Transactional governance would promote market economies.  If the EU wants to drive the web into a specific direction; drive it towards highly competitive, open network utilities; operating under multistakeholder governance structures.  

It is my assertion that these networks will beat large corporations on scalability, advancement, and agility for most if not all business streams.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this.


   
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