International identity protection

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Rana, Rima Hirendrasinhji

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With the global reach of internet, protecting identity and privacy has become a concern of paramount importance across the world. A person's identifier data named as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is at risk of identity theft and fraud in the cyber and the physical world. To address this problem, the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin has developed a project named Identity Ecosystem which delivers a framework to understand the risk, loss value and relationship between the PII attributes. This thesis uses the Identity Ecosystem to propose an international approach in understanding the identity. This thesis extends the mathematical representation and implementation model of the Identity Ecosystem representing PII attributes and relationships to international PII. Previously, the model had been primarily populated using data about US theft and fraud cases to include PII attributes used to transact crime as well as accidental exposure of PII attributes. This research describes how the content of the Identity Ecosystem and resulting analysis change when PII attributes from international identity theft and fraud cases are incorporated. In addition to identity theft and frauds, this thesis compared and contrasts the notion of identity in the case of different international legal business processes. This thesis seeks to provide a holistic picture of identity including both theft and also legitimate scenarios internationally.

Furthermore, this thesis utilizes the Identity Ecosystem to recommend improvements for an internationally emerging identity management solution: blockchain-based identity management. In a blockchain-based identity solution, the user is given the control of his/her identity by storing personal information on his/her device and having the choice of identity verification document used later to create blockchain attestations. Yet, the blockchain technology alone is not enough to produce a better identity solution. The users have a choice of identity documents to provide but without guidelines, they do not know which document poses higher risk or liability. This research helps the user to make such an informed decision by providing guidelines using the Identity Ecosystem. To summarize, this work provides a means for designing more accurate models of PII in the international context.


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