Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019



Privacy starts with Identity

We present Cogito, a mobile app that helps you remain in control of your identity. It supports a friendly way to identify yourself to websites, perform blockchain transactions and encryption. But most importantly, it guarantees that your identity is really owned by you. We believe this to be a good starting point for true privacy online.

Identity may seem like a boring topic. Haven't we solved the problem of how to identify ourselves to websites a hundred different ways? Isn't this a solved problem?

We argue that in order to guarantee true privacy it is essential to introduce new ways to identify ourselves.

We present Cogito, a mobile app that helps you remain in control of your identity. Use it to create multiple facets of your identity to separate for instance your working life from your personal life.

Traditionally, identities are bestowed on you by others. Your passport is issued to you by your government. Your bank account is given to you by a bank. Website credentials are given to you by the owner of the website.

These identities are ultimately not under your control. You get them on loan from the institutes that issue them, and they are free to retract them as they deem necessary. This is no basis for true control over your data. This is no basis for privacy.

With Cogito we've taken a cue from blockchains and PGP and use cryptographic identities. This involves generating a public-private key pair in which the public part is used as your identity (similar to a passport number or bank account number). The private key you keep to yourself because you can use it to prove that you are the owner of the identity.

These self-sovereign identities are created and maintained by their owners. They can not be taken away from them and are therefore completely under their control. We believe that this is a prerequisite for true privacy.

With Cogito we aim to make these self-sovereign identities very easy to use. Using a Cogito identity on a website is therefore as simple as scanning a QR code. Signing a blockchain transaction or decrypting data is as simple as pressing the 'accept' button.

In our FOSDEM session, we will demonstrate not only how Cogito works, but also what developers can do with Cogito. We will discuss the architecture, show the demo app and the tutorial. We invite those who are interested to help develop Cogito further.


Photo of Mark Spanbroek Mark Spanbroek
Photo of Marcin Czenko Marcin Czenko
Photo of Stefan van den Oord Stefan van den Oord