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Sovrin Foundation names SITA a Founding Steward

Location: Geneva
16 July 2018

SITA to lead exploration into self-sovereign identity in travel

SITA today announced that it has been named a Founding Steward of the Sovrin Foundation, a private-sector, international non-profit whose mission is to enable self-sovereign identity online. In its role as a Founding Steward, air transport technology provider SITA, will collaborate with the Sovrin Foundation and other Sovrin Stewards to create, operate and maintain the foundation’s decentralized digital identity network.

Sovrin is a decentralized, global public utility for self-sovereign identity. Self-sovereign means a lifetime portable identity for any person, organization, or thing that allows the holder to present verifiable credentials in a privacy-protecting way. These credentials can represent things as diverse as a passport, an airline ticket or simply a library card. Sovrin identities seek to transform the current broken online identity system which is open to misuse and fraud. Using self-sovereign identities could lead to lower financial transaction costs, protect people’s personal information, limit opportunity for cybercrime, and simplify identity challenges in a variety of fields including travel, healthcare, banking, IoT and voter fraud.

Heather C. Dahl, Executive Director of the Sovrin Foundation, said: “SITA has a unique role in the global air transport industry. Its community ownership and neutral position makes it ideally suited to be the first travel industry Steward for Sovrin. The digital economy requires that individuals and businesses establish secure, private and trusted transactions but the current centralized system is flawed and subject to fraud. The Sovrin Network was purpose-built to add the missing identity layer to the Internet and provides a complete approach to identity from the distributed ledger to device. SITA brings decades of industry experience to help establish self-sovereign identity in the travel sector.”

Gustavo Pina, Head of SITA Lab, said: “There has always been a need for people to assert their identities and today that is lacking online. In the ideal world, individuals would digitally hold all their identity data themselves which they could assert to various entities. In travel that could be at every step of the journey from booking, travelling through the airport, crossing borders and checking-in to hotels.”

SITA will be working with innovative airline customers to trial issuing credentials to small groups of passengers and allowing them to use them in controlled environments.  In doing so, travel industry leaders can see how self-sovereign identity might develop.

Pina added: “We know that companies would like to get personal data off their systems. With self-sovereign identity, individuals could maintain ownership of the data they need to travel and this would reduce the data management responsibilities of airlines, airports, governments and other stakeholders in the travel journey. There is a clear desire to move in this direction and while it might be hard to visualize today, I expect digital identities will be with us in the coming decade.”

Sovrin Stewards are governed by the Sovrin Foundation’s constitution-like Trust Framework, within which the ‘diffuse trust model’ seeks to prevent undue influence over the network from any single source. Other Sovrin Stewards include Cisco, Deutsche Telekom, Digicert, IBM, and T-Labs.

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