Call: “Blockchain for Trustworthy Digital Identity Systems: Socio-Technical Perspectives” issue of Digital Identity

Call for Papers

Digital Society, Springer – Special issue on Blockchain for Trustworthy Digital Identity Systems: Socio-Technical Perspectives

We welcome contributions addressing, from a socio-technical perspectives, the social, legal, economic, political, ethical, and philosophical implications of Blockchain-Based Identity Management Systems.

Please for the full CfP see:

Important information:
Deadline: 31 May 2022 – Feel free to submit in advance

Guest editors:
Antonio Carnevale – CyberethicsLab
Piercosma Bisconti – Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies
Federica Russo – Unviersity of Amsterdam

As the world population zooms past the 7 billion mark, the number of people with internet access balloons as well. An increasingly large part of human activity is now carried out on the web: from social media to online purchasing to public administrations, many rely on the internet for providing services and information. In this context, reliable Identity Management (IM) is becoming a crucial issue for ensuring the validity of transactions, purchases, and in general the fruition of internet services. Against this backdrop, the severity of online frauds becomes evident, since these put at risk users’ privacy and security, as well as the reliability of internet services as a whole. A primary attempt to tackle these issues has been the Federated Identity Management (FIM) that can be made between multiple actors to let subscribers use the same identification data to obtain access to the networks of all the actors in the identity federation. In this context, trust issues become highly relevant for designing inter-organizational collaboration. Indeed, as in any complex engineered system, the trustlessness cannot be resolved separately. Moreover, blockchain technologies have been highlighted as a potential solution of federated identity management environment. The distributed architecture of BBIM [Blockchain-based Identity Management] should mitigate principal-agent problems (e.g. moral hazard, shirking) that characterizes trusted relationships. This has led to many describing blockchain as a “trustless” or “trust-free” technology. This trust-based value neutrality is also the background of the recent Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)ii management systems, which represent the next frontier of a user-centric digital identity, to the point that the European Commission is sponsoring European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) to leverage blockchain to accelerate the creation of cross-border services for public administrations and their ecosystems. The main aim of this topical collection: understanding, from the perspective of socio-technical perspectives, the social, legal, economic, political, ethical, and philosophical implications of blockchain-based IMs on digital society design, with a special focus (but not limited) to the following topics and questions:

Topic of interest:

  • Can a stronger attention to the normative and philosophical substance of ‘sovereignty’ help to highlight a range of ethical issues pertaining to the changing nature of human identity in the context of digital society?
  • In what terms? According to what conceptual models of reasoning? To enhance and promote which models of ethics?
  • Can self-sovereign identity be useful in public services where the legal basis for processing citizen’s personal data is the public interest?
  • What is the actual value of individual choice in BBIMs? Is the self-management of one’s digital identities in fact a means of controlling individual choice or a means of having it controlled?
  • Do BBIMs contribute to greater efficiency and/or effectiveness of the organizations in which they are implemented?
  • Could the distributed and self-sovereign nature of BBIMs lead to questioning this historic link between political activism and institutional order?
  • Does its “trust-free” character facilitate or penalize the formation of collective movements and therefore the democratization processes of political regimes?
  • Do the different types of consensus mechanisms also have political implications? What kind?
  • Can BBIMs be scaled beyond the sovereignty of states or/and individuals and thought of as holistic approaches to promote human rights globally?

If you have any question please contact:

Piercosma Bisconti
Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies


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