How Self works

Getting Started

Getting started with Self is Easy.

Follow the instructions below, download our Android app from the Play Store (iOS will be released shortly) Create an account and start verifying facts about yourself. Once they're verified you can reuse them to sign up with companies who support Self.

1. GET THE APP

Download the Self app and set up your security with a high-res facial scan.

Get it on Google Play
Self screenshot: Add facts to your Self from one of these sources

2. VERIFY

Verify a few facts about yourself, like your email, phone number, passport details. ​

This is the important bit: We don't keep your data once you've verified it. They're not stored on our (or anyone else's) servers.

3. CONNECT

Use Self to register and create a trusted connection to companies, charities and organisations with one tap.​

Feel safe that your data stays under your control.

Self Connections screen

In a bit more detail

Your Self App gives you control over your personal data. You chose what goes in the app; you have those facts verified and if they're asked for by one of the companies or members you are connected to, you choose whether to share it with them and on what terms.

When you store facts in Self, they're in a secure encrypted space in your phone. They're only accessible by you. The only time they leave your phone is when you send them. They're not in the Cloud, they're not in a big tech company database; they are in your hand, where they are safe.

When you sign up to a service using Self, it's the best way of proving you're not a bot, spammer or hacker, so companies and organisations love it. They can request access to just the facts that they need to deliver you a service, or even just the knowledge the facts imply (“Are you over legal drinking age in your country?” for example).

Because every fact has been confirmed by third parties, companies can trust facts without needing any more forms of identification, so you don't have to go through lenthy checks, or fill out forms. Your Self app does that all for you. It's like a personal assistant for your life.  

Self Network Public Beta

Are you a developer?

See our guide to getting started on the Self Network

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions
What do you mean 'facts' can be stored in Self?

A fact is really just a piece of information about you. The most basic facts that Self stores are the ones you use to sign up: your email address, street address, your phone number, date of birth the personal details on your passport or driving license.

If a fact has been verified as being true by an authoritative third party it will be marked with a ticked shield.

You can only share facts over the Self Network which have been verified, so you should try to get as many facts verified as possible.

How is this useful? Imagine if you've just finished a foreign language course – the course providers could attest to the fact that you've achieved a level of competence in French, and you could store this as a verified fact in Self. That would mean you could use that fact in the future, for example when registering on a job platform, so potential employers know that someone they can trust says that "Oui, ils peuvent parler français!" ("Yes, they can speak French!")

One important thing is that someone doesn't need to know the details to know that a fact is true. If you're buying age restricted goods online, the retailer doesn't need to know your date of birth, they just need to know that you're over a certain age. This is a powerful way of protecting your data, while being able to prove useful things about yourself.

How can I be certain you're not sharing or selling all of the data I store in Self?

Put simply we don't have your data. You stored it in your phone on your Self app, and only you can access it. If it leaves your phone it's because you send it as a message across the Self Network to a specific recipient.

We're not just saying this. It can be proved using our Public Key Infrastructure.

How does Self compare to Two Factor Authentication apps?

Self can be used as a factor in multi-factor authentication, but because Self is proving more than that you have access to some keys it delivers more value to the organisation requesting authentication than just an app. Self can tell them that it's the specific person who should be being given access in real time. It can also add to that payload things like whether the person being authenticated has passed a KYC check and if they are the same person as the one who did the previous KYC check. Giving the organisation authentication with real value in real time.

How do I know my data is safe?

Your information in Self is protected by several layers of security:

1. It is only stored on the device in your hand. We don't send it over the Internet to any other databases until you click the "Approve" button, and even then, it's just that individual piece of data.

2. Once you've unlocked your phone, you should only access Self using a biometric check like a fingerprint or face scan. You will also be asked to create a 6 digit PIN for accessing Self in an emergency, but it will only give you access to limited functionality. You must make sure no one else has access to your PIN, so it stays safe and private. In addition to the biometric checks on the device, Self may use selfies and other means to determine if it's really you accessing your data.

3. Everything is encrypted all the time (including backups), so only you or someone you permit can see your data.

How do I back up the data I have in Self?

All data stored in Self is encrypted on your mobile device. Any data you share is backed-up to your phone's cloud backup (e.g. iCloud or Google Drive) in a location nominated by you during the sign up process. The backups of your data and account details will be encrypted end-to-end and then stored encrypted in your device's cloud backups,

The data you store in your Self app is all backed up when you perform your usual phone backups, to Apple iCloud, Google Drive or whichever system you use. As these backups are also encrypted, it means that your backups can only be accessed by you.

That's why when you create your Self account we give you a recovery key. Keep a secure record of this, it is what will let you get your data back if you lose access to it or to your account.

It is your responsibility to keep your phone, login details and recovery details safe, and to prevent others from having unauthorised access to your Membership details.

Do you have access to all of my data in Self?

No!

Your data belongs to you. Self's founders believe it is safer for people and better for business for you to control your data. We live by those beliefs and so we have built Self specifically to prevent us having access to your data unless - like you might with any company - you give us specific permission to see it.

Current Regulations, such as GDPR are a good start, but we think they don't go far enough. No company needs to keep your data, especially if they use Self, but sometimes the law still requires it*, so we have to hold some data. Our privacy policy governs what personal information of yours we hold, why we hold it and how we use it. It forms part of the terms and conditions you agree to when you use Self.

*We would hold no personal data if we could get away with it.

What do you mean by 'Connecting' with a company or individual with Self?

To keep Self safe and free from spam we have made sure you can only be contacted by companies and people you are connected to. In the Self app there's a list of your connections which you can add to or delete from at any time. If you add a new connection - which might be using a QR code or by selecting a company from the list in the app they'll be added to this list. A company can't ask you to connect to them directly through Self so you'll only ever hear from people you want or need to hear from.

When you share a fact through Self with a connection, typically, you'll be sharing it for a specific purpose – for example to verify your age – and the recipient will be limited to using the fact only once and then destroying their copy of that data within a given time, usually when they have completed the purpose.

That list of the Self members you are connected to also shows the facts you have shared with each one. The app also lets you check and manage all your sharing.

Even though you have chosen to be connected to another member, you should be careful about which facts you share and what purpose you are sharing them for. Your facts are valuable and you should avoid giving others access to them without good reason.

How does Self compare to password storage apps like 1Password and LastPass?

Self can support passwordless technology thereby consigning the nightmare of managing passwords to the past. Authentication without the need for usernames, passwords or anything you need to remember – just being you is enough.

What protects my data after I've given access to it to a company? What stops them misusing it, losing it or spamming me?

Every time you grant access to a piece of your data to a third party, you do so for a purpose that says what they can and can't do with it and how long they can have it for. So for example a car hire company might need your address for as long as you have their car, but when you return the car they should delete your address.

Before Self they needed your details to contact you. Now, because you are connected to them through Self, they can contact you if they need to and they can ask for the address again if they need it. So they don't need to keep it, and it's very clear if they choose to use the data for something else that they are in breach of your agreement and the law.

Why do I need to take a selfie?

Your face is a key to unlock the data you store in Self on your phone. Your App uses the selfies you take to be sure you are the person who should be accessing your data. It compares them to pictures of you on official documents and in other verified images you share with the App. Your app will learn about your face and use it to keep you and your data safe.

This knowledge helps you keep your data secure, and it helps the people and companies you're connected to know that you are you.

But don't worry, like all the data you put into your app, your selfies are not stored on our servers, they're just in your phone.

Why is is better to store my data on my phone than in the cloud?

Security, security, security.

Data stored in ‘the cloud’ is actually stored on servers located all over the world. These servers can be accessed from absolutely anywhere and the data on them is only as safe as the humans that set up the protection around them. As many recent high profile data breaches have shown (Twitter, British Airways, Zoom, the list goes on), these security measures are simply not up to the task of keeping out ever more skilled and ambitious hackers.

If your data is stored on your phone, it can’t be hacked like this. The fingerprint or face scan you use to unlock your phone is almost impossible to hack and, so is the data itself. What's more, hacking a big database with a million records in it is worth a hacker's effort, hacking a single phone just isn't.

The other issue with allowing companies to store your personal data is that once you’ve given a company some of your personal information, it’s easy to forget what you’ve shared with them and impossible to control how they use it. This misuse of data is becoming more widespread as businesses try to squeeze more and more value out of the information that they hold about their customers.

When you store your data on your device YOU remain in complete control of that information. You decide exactly which pieces of data to share with a company and you will be able to decide precisely what they can use it for and how long they can keep it.

If everything is stored directly on my phone, what happens if I lose it or I'm upgrading?

This information is all backed up when you perform your usual phone backups, either to Apple iCloud, Google Drive or whichever system you use. As these backups are also encrypted, it means that your backups can only be accessed by you.

That's why when you create your Self account we give you a recovery key. Keep a secure record of this, it is what will let you get your data back if you lose access to it or to your account.

Why is Self better than using my email & password?

When you use your email address to sign up for a service online, you're giving the company running it the ability to target you with advertising on social channels, send you marketing emails and potentially lose the data to hackers. That's even more scary if you're using the same password on other sites.

But Self is more than just a way to log in – it gives you the ability to share just the specific pieces of information that companies or other people need to deliver the service you've agreed to.

I'm working for a business and I'm interested in using Self on our sites and services. How can I get in touch?

We'd love to talk to you. Drop us a line and we'll be in touch.

What does Early Bird mean?

Early bird is our way of giving advanced access to Self technologies to people and companies who start working with it first. IF you're an early bird, first, thank you. Second you'll be getting early access to more features in the future, so it's not just good being ahead now, you'll stay ahead.

What if I want to delete all of my data?

You can delete your account at any time by choosing “delete account” from the Settings menu. Doing so will remove all your data from your phone and from backups.

Once your account has been deleted, your member details can be recovered, but any other data you've stored in Self will no longer be available – we don't keep any of your data on our servers.

Any more questions?

We know  that Self is a new way of doing things, so we'd love to hear what you think, and what you'd like to use it for.

Contact us