Microsoft has taken a major step in its efforts to create an identity verification system that can be used across organisations.
Now in public preview, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) verifiable credentials offers an open standards-based approach to organisations re-using verified information about a person.
Azure AD is based on the Decentralized Identifiers (DID) core specification, which Microsoft says is "very close" to joining Verifiable Credentials as a ratified standard.
Firms can design and issue verifiable credentials to represent proof of claims - such as about employment or education. Then, the holder of the credential can decide when, and with whom, to share it. Each credential is signed using cryptographic keys associated with the DID that the user owns and controls.
Microsoft is working with a host of ID verification firms - including Jumio, Onfido and Socure - to use the technology to make it possible to verify an identity once and present it to anyone.
Azure AD customers can use the system to validate official documents and electronic records across 192 countries to verify identities.
Microsoft says this will benefit both organisations and individuals when it comes to highly-regulated interactions, enabling people to quickly start a job, apply for a loan, or access secure apps and services—without having to repeatedly share their sensitive information.