We Need to Get Digital ID Right
Since 2016, ID2020 has advocated for ethical, privacy-protecting approaches to digital ID.
For the one in seven people globally who lacks a means to prove their identity, digital ID offers access to vital social services and enables them to exercise their rights as citizens and voters and participate in the modern economy. But doing digital ID right means protecting civil liberties and putting control over personal data back where it belongs...in the hands of the individual.
Every day, we rely on a variety of forms of identification to go about our lives: our driver’s license, passport, work badge and building access cards, debit and credit cards, transit passes, and more.
But technology is evolving at a blinding pace and many of the transactions that require identification are today being conducted digitally. From e-passports to digital wallets, online banking to social media accounts, these new forms of digital ID allow us to travel, conduct business, access financial and health records, stay connected, and much more.
While the move to digital ID has had many positive effects, it has been accompanied by countless challenges and setbacks, including large-scale data breaches affecting millions of people. Most of the current tools are archaic, insecure, lack appropriate privacy protections and commoditize our data. But that’s about to change and ID2020 is leading the charge.
We are businesses, nonprofits, governments and individuals...working in collaboration to ensure that the future of digital identity is, indeed, #goodID.We refer to the core requirements of that digital ID as the four P’s:
Only you control your own identity, what data is shared and with whom
Accessible anywhere you happen to be through multiple methods
Lives with you from life to death
Unique to you and you only
Unpacking the Challenges
1.1 billion people worldwide live without a digital ID
Identity is vital for political, economic and social opportunity. But systems of identification are archaic, insecure, lack adequate privacy protection, and for over a billion people, inaccessible.
Identity data is outside of individual control
Today, most personal data is stored in silos. The more siloed and numerous your data becomes the less control you have over it.
Protections for privacy are insufficient
With tracking, targeting, and surveillance techniques becoming more sophisticated, you need better privacy protections for your data.
Identity is neither portable nor persistent
Data travels swiftly across time and space, often without your control.
Good digital ID is too important not to get right
For over a billion individuals worldwide, accessing basic good and services is difficult, if not impossible, due to a lack of recognized identification. With “good” digital identity, individuals could use credentials issued from a variety of different institutions in order to gain access to a variety of different services, while preserving privacy and security and maintaining control over their information.
Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights stipulates that "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law." The Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) include target 16.9 which aims to "provide legal identity to all, including birth registration, by 2030."
Individuals are required to show identification to access healthcare and education, vote, and access other social assistance programs.
More than 2.5 billion adults do not have a bank account or use formal financial services, making it difficult to move out of poverty or weather a period of hardship. Connecting people with digitally-based financial tools and services requires accessible, secure and verifiable ID systems.
Organizations without an accurate system of identification struggle to provide well-coordinated services, simply because the number of beneficiaries is unknown and precise targeting is impossible.
Women with an official identity are empowered to play a greater role in household decisions and maintain financial independence. Furthermore, identification can be an important defense against child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.
In addition to the intrinsic benefit of identity, it is a necessary prerequisite for achieving many of the other SDGs. International goals will be difficult to reach or measure without a way to identify beneficiaries.
A unique convergence of trends provides an unprecedented opportunity to make a coordinated, concerted push to provide digital ID to everyone.
Growing Political Willpower
In September 2015, all United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including their commitment to “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration” by 2030.
Rising Global Connectivity
The rapid proliferation of smart devices globally, combined with ever-increasing computing power and rapidly expanding broadband coverage, enables new methods of registration and facilitates ongoing interaction between individuals and their identity data.
New technologies, including blockchain, when used in conjunction with long-proven technologies, such as biometrics, now make it possible for all people to have access to a safe, verifiable, and persistent form of identity.
Global Calls for a New Model of ID
Consumers are demanding both a more seamless digital experience and increased privacy. In April 2016, the European Parliament approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is designed to improve the security and privacy of personal data in the EU and which requires that the control of personal data rests with the individual. Companies are increasingly recognizing that user-owned and controlled identity could offer benefits to their bottom-line. While the nature of these benefits vary widely, commonly cited benefits include drastic reductions in KYC/AML costs, the ability to reduce the quantity of personally identifiable data stored by the company (and therefore reduce cyber-security risks), and the promise of a better customer experience.