What is self-sovereign identity and why is it important?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “self-sovereign identity?” It’s all the rage in technology circles, with good intent – the goal is to put you in control of your data. Why is that important?

A flaw in the design

The internet wasn’t designed with an identity layer. So when you go to one website, you need an account. Another website, another account. Companies spend money on all of that, and you have to keep track of all your usernames and passwords, etc. 

Then came the idea of federation, where you could use one log-in and other websites could use that one as a ‘trusted’ credential. Facebook and Google are well known to allow your user id to be used on other websites (you’ve probably been prompted to log in with your Facebook ID) but there’s a dark side, this is more information about you that Facebook and Google get to know about you, bad news! 

The concept of federation is not a bad thing, it’s the intent of the company offering the federation that has to be understood.


The self-sovereign approach recognizes that an individual should own and control their identity without some administrative authority. To pull this off, there have to be standards around how to represent your digital identity, how that can be shared, and give you the ability to control who gets it, etc.

In the tech industry, these standards efforts take quite a while and are usually fraught with companies trying to work an angle to give them a competitive advantage, which is a shame.

That’s true for the effort around self-sovereignty as well, nevertheless, the idea behind it is very important, and eventually, the standards will get there. For additional information on the latest standards, visit W3.

Our Approach 

At TrueNews (and MeUs), we believe in the vision and will align with the standards as they stabilize. Over a decade ago we had the same concept in mind when we began designing our solution to allow self-sovereign control of a person’s data, for each relationship they might have, to other people, to companies, etc. 

Imagine if you could, safely, have online relationships with any company or person, and control what’s known about you. Worldwide, the public is being surveilled by technology companies and governments, causing job loss, product discrimination (insurance, real estate, credit, etc.), and enabling identity theft, scams and physical security risk.

MeUs Identity (and TrueNews) allows users to create relationships easily, with any person or company., keeps each relationship separate and secure, and puts the user in control of exactly what info is shared with each relationship. MeUs Identity helps people stay safe and still benefit from relationships with people and companies.

So, for example, TrueNews, when you sign up, becomes a relationship. 

  1. I first get established in MeUs Identity by providing a bunch of stuff about me to prove I’m a real person, of a certain age, etc.
  2. A relationship is established with TrueNews, separate from all other relationships, and specifying what data about me that TrueNews gets to know about me; I can edit the list of items to give only what I want to TrueNews
  3. TrueNews then establishes my user (alias), and asks me for access to specific data (i.e. My real name, IF I want to be able to comment or create news items under my real name)

Simple right?

And this same procedure can be done with any relationship, whether it be between people or companies. And this lines up quite well with the standards that are mentioned above as well.

With TrueNews, you’ll be able to get the facts and protect your identity the right way, with you in control.

Kirk Sullivan

Kirk Sullivan