IDENTITY IS FOUNDATIONAL FOR POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITY, YET the WORLD BANK ESTIMATES THAT OVER 1 BILLION PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO PROVE WHO THEY ARE. A digital identity that puts the individual at the center can provide political, economic, and social opportunity.
A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT
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." Critically, this must include the >20M refugees worldwide.
NECESSARY TO ACCESS BASIC SERVICES
Individuals are required to show identification to access healthcare and education, vote, and access other social assistance programs.
CRITICAL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND GOVERNANCE
Governments without an accurate system of identification struggle to provide well-coordinated social services, simply because the number of beneficiaries is unknown and precise targeting is impossible. And without clear registries, the risk of leakages and corruption are high - in Nigeria, enrollment of civil servants saved approximately $74M by eliminating "ghost workers" on payroll.
A GATEWAY TO ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
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.
IMPORTANT FOR GENDER EQUALITY
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.
A KEY ENABLER OF GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT
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.
DIGITAL IDeNTITY BENEFITS BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS
PERSONAL: Unique to you and you only
PERSISTENT: Lives with you from life to death
PRIVATE: Only you can control your own identity, and you can selectively chose what to share and with whom
PORTABLE: Accessible anywhere you happen to be through multiple form-factors
A unique convergence of trends provides an unprecedented opportunity to make a coordinated, concerted push towards the goal of universal digital identity.
Growing Political Willpower: In September 2015, all United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: 17 interrelated goals and 169 associated targets to promote social, economic and environmentally sustainable development. In Target 16.9 all countries made a global commitment to “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration” by 2030. This global commitment sets an ambitious timeline and there is an urgent need to harmonize existing approaches, bring in diverse voices, and accelerate action.
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.
Emerging Technologies: 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 technology.
Global Calls for a New Model of Identity:
- 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, but 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.