As we are moving towards digitization, it is important that we protect our data in all the transactions we make. For this, all our transactions must be securely authenticated, and we should guard our privacy by not revealing our identity more than needed.
As such ‘Anonymous credentials’ are essentially a privacy-enhancing public-key infrastructure requiring standardization to be used widely. These promise to address our security requirement simultaneously.
What are Anonymous Credentials used for?
Anonymous credential systems are more complex but far secure than ordinary signature schemes. They provide more functionality to address all of the requirements of a public-key infrastructure along with privacy protection.
Identity Mixer is one such anonymous credential designed to protect privacy of the users by emphasizing just on the essentials of the proof. It is based on a set of algorithms related to cryptography work done at IBM Research.
In particular, Identity Mixer authenticates the users by asking them to provide a public key. Each user has one unique secret key that corresponds with multiple public keys, or identities. Whenever a user makes any transaction, it receives a different public key and leaves no privacy “breadcrumbs.”
According to IBM, the result is that users’ privacy is better preserved and the service provider is spared from the need to protect and secure all their data.
“One of the key principles for protecting privacy is the concept of data minimization,” said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. “Anything that can be done to reduce the amount of data that’s collected as part of the authentication process is definitely a very good thing.“