ICONLOOP wants to break big tech’s stranglehold on private data.

Or so reports the Korean-language Korean Economic Daily.

Speaking at the 2019 Hankyung Digital ABCD Forum in Seoul on Tuesday, ICONLOOP CEO Jonghyup Kim warned that big platforms such as Google and Facebook were using their virtual monopoly on private internet data to turn astronomical profits.

The answer, he said, was to return identity management and “data sovereignty” to individuals using blockchain technology.

“There are growing demands to return data sovereignty to the individual,” he said. “We must use this transformation well.”

Kim said that global internet companies are using personal digital identities to accumulate great amounts of wealth that they do not share.

He said as awareness of data sovereignty that returns individual data to the individual themselves grows, so does interest in decentralized identification services.

Kim explained to the audience the concept of “decentralized ID,” or DID. DID begins with returning control over the user’s ID to the user themselves rather than handing it to the platform provider, as in the case in existing centralized ID systems.

He notes that one common form of digital identification used online in Korea, the gongin injeungseo certificate, is accepted only by public organizations and financial institutions. Moreover, it forces users to submit not just the data they wish to share, but all their ID data.

DID, on the other hand, saves only required ID data on the blockchain, allowing users to selectively use their private data.

Kim predicted that DIDs would be an important part of the business environment of the future, too. He noted that while business models that use private data, such as ride sharing services, are increasing, these companies struggle to earn consumer trust regarding their private data with existing business structures.

Blockchain’s decentralization, however, could solve this problem.

The Korea Economic Daily says many Korean companies are showing interest in DID. Besides ICONLOOP, Samsung Electronics and KEB-Hana Bank are pursuing their own DID project, while SK Telecom and LG U+ have formed a consortium to develop a DID service.

(And if readers were wondering about the competition for the market this might spark, an ICONLOOP official told the Korean-language business daily Seoul Gyeongje that since the Korean DID market was still in its infancy, these alliances were not exclusive ideas, and that the competition could work to everyone’s advantage by growing the market pie.)

Last month, the government granted provisional authorization for a mobile drivers license verification system based on blockchain.

And on Monday, the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute revealed that it would launch Korea’s first commercialized DID service within the month.

“Basically, DID was born to break from the certification structure in which third parties own and administer personal data,” said Kim. “Compared to current digital identities, which are highly prone to technical misuse or abuse, we can realize self-sovereign IDs that allow the user to directly own and administer their data.”