In Join:D, the Korean-language blockchain news site of the major Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, Kyobo Securities economist and columnist Im Dong-min warns that there can be no freedom without privacy.

Im cites Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff, the author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,” a klaxon against big tech’s usurpation, monetization and potential weaponization of personal privacy. From the Guardian:

[The book] describes how global tech companies such as Google and Facebook persuaded us to give up our privacy for the sake of convenience; how personal information (“data”) gathered by these companies has been used by others not only to predict our behaviour but also to influence and modify it; and how this has had disastrous consequences for democracy and freedom. This is the “surveillance capitalism” of the title, which Zuboff defines as a “new economic order” and “an expropriation of critical human rights that is best understood as a coup from above”.

Im says two conditions must be satisfied to guarantee privacy — self-sovereignty and anonymity. Privacy must be an impregnable sanctuary. Without sovereignty to decide or anonymity, people have no freedom.

Im notes that crypto assets powered by blockchain deal with self-sovereignty and anonymity at a most fundamental level. Bitcoin employs distributed ledger technology that maximizes self-sovereignty and anonymity in the movement of data and value, while the DAO to which Ethereum aspires aims to establish a decision-making and governance structure that completely guarantees privacy.

Two blockchain projects that aim to guarantee privacy — that is to say, self-sovereignty and anonymity — are decentralized identity (DID) and zero-knowledge proofs.

DID aims to give individuals ownership and control over their own data and online identity. There are three major DID initiatives currently underway in Korea, including ICONLOOP’s MyID Alliance.

Zero-knowledge proofs, meanwhile, allow people to validate transactions without exposing secret information. With payment engines, this would guarantee the anonymity of cash.

Im argues that discussions of privacy must move beyond mere protection of private information. Rather, privacy is an issue that should be dealt with alongside pressing matters such as KYC and AML.

ICONLOOP CEO JH Kim, too, elaborated on DID and the need to reclaim sovereignty over our own data in a recent interview with a Korean think tank. We summarized that interview here and here.

And speaking of DID….

The Korean-language blockchain news site The Block Post notes how ICONLOOP’s MyID Alliance recently expanded to 44 partners with the addition of Saramin, GS Shop and LIME Solution.

The 44 include 16 financial companies, 10 IT companies, nine startups, six public organizations and three industrial concerns.

The Block Post notes that ICONLOOP is starting off the year by strengthening its blockchain services, taking the lead in popularizing the use of blockchain solutions. The company is continuing to add real-life use cases through the expansion of the MyID Alliance and the recent official launch of the blockchain-powered certification service Broof.