Everything you never wanted to know about ID2020.

Digital ID

What is digital ID?

A digital identity, as we see it, is a grouping of digital identifiers. So, if you interact with any technology connected to the Internet, or to a mobile network, you have a digital identity.

Why is digital ID important, what are its benefits and challenges?

In the developed world, most of us use large service providers to manage the huge number and variety of digital identifiers we collect. The most prevalent service providers are Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Each provider mediates digital interactions in order to provide a seamless digital experience. And yet, as they do, they also collect digital identifiers, in order to derive insights and drive profit.

So your digital identifiers are, for the most part, not in your control. In fact, they are more often than not stored in siloes. And the more siloed and numerous your digital identifiers become the less control you have over them. So while you do have a digital identity, you probably don’t have control over it.

And that’s just you. Over 1 billion people worldwide do not have access to any form of identification. This lack can make it difficult, if not impossible, to access basic critical services like education or healthcare.

So, a large group of individuals have no digital identity and those of us that do don’t enjoy our rights to privacy, security, and choice.

Your digital identity should be yours, but it isn’t.

What is a “good” digital identity?

A “good” digital identity is one that is truly yours. With a “good” digital identity you can enjoy your rights to privacy, security, and choice.

The right to privacy is the right to permission access to your information at a granular level on an ongoing basis. Today, we consent once to give access to our digital identifiers. While it is possible in some digital spaces to revoke consent, revocation mechanisms are often esoteric and hidden behind high barriers to entry. True privacy means that you control access to individual digital identifiers, and that you can revoke (or modify) that access easily, at any time.

The right to security is all about protecting your data from unwanted access. Our certified digital identity systems must adhere to the highest security standards in existence today. And we are constantly evolving our Technical Requirements, which you can view here, in response to a changing landscape.

Last but not least, the right to choice is essential, and often overlooked in the digital world. Though you certainly have the right to choose among a few providers, and to exchange access to your information for that right, true choices are few and far between in the digital world; to get philosophical for a moment, what freedom actually exists in a world of prescribed, circumscribed choices? A world that, in most cases, takes a certain kind of digital presence as a given?

Achieving each of these rights depends on shifting the locus of control away from institutions and towards you.

A “good” digital identity is one that is portable, persistent, privacy-protecting, and personal.

Portability means that your information can be moved seamlessly from one hosting/storage site to another, without duplication, modification, or deletion. Persistence refers to durability; that your digital identity will stay with you for life, and that no individual or institution can duplicate, modify, or delete it. Privacy-protection refers to the safeguards in place to ensure that activities that you do not consent to are strictly forbidden. Personal means that you control your information at a granular level on an ongoing basis.

In short, a “good” digital is yours.What is the ID2020 Alliance and who are its members?

ID2020 Alliance

What are the principal objectives of ID2020? What are the impacts it is focused on achieving?

ID2020 is working to improve lives through digital identity. We are:

  • driving multi-stakeholder collaboration to set its future course;
  • defining individual-centered functional requirements to influence its technical development;
  • participating in projects to deploy promising solutions in a range of environments;
  • accelerating access to digital ID to underserved, vulnerable populations;
  • advocating for the widespread adoption of ethically-grounded digital ID solutions, and assisting in their implementation.

What is ID2020 doing to address these challenges?

ID2020 Alliance partners work together – through a transparent governance model - to set technical requirements, fund and implement digital identity projects, and develop the supporting evidence required by policymakers, regulators, companies or individuals.

To jointly take best practices to scale, the Alliance:

  • Participates in digital ID projects, grounded in a common monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) framework, to produce an actionable analysis of the costs, opportunities, and risks associated with these programs and enable stakeholders to embrace change;
  • Sets technical requirements for user-centric, portable, and privacy-protecting digital identity solutions;
  • Enables multi-stakeholder collaboration on digital identity by establishing a neutral governance structure, promoting participation by a diverse ecosystem, and hosting meetings, events, and collaborative discussions.

What is the ID2020 Alliance and who are its members?

The ID2020 Alliance is a group composed of an Executive Board, three Advisory Committees made up of subject-matter experts and Alliance partners, and a Secretariat. The Board oversees our strategic direction and keeps us on course. The Advisory Committees perform ongoing analysis of our work, providing critical input in the development of programs and tools. And the Secretariat oversees the day-to-day operations of the Alliance.

How can other companies or organizations join the alliance?

A great first step would be to thoughtfully review our Manifesto. We are a coalition of the willing, and only want partners that are prepared to fully engage with our principles and contribute meaningfully. If our principles align, or if you just want to learn more, you can email us at [email protected]

What is the benefit of joining the ID2020 Alliance?

The ID2020 Alliance is a coalition of the willing. We believe in bringing together partners that share our core values and are excited to contribute. Joining the Alliance means joining the movement to steer the future course of digital identity.

Pilot Programs

What are ID2020’s pilot programs and what is their intended impact?

The ID2020 Alliance provides program support for high-impact and high-quality digital identity projects that are privacy-protecting, user-centric, and designed for scale, impact, and replicability.

These programs are field testing and rigorously evaluating digital ID technologies, systems, and approaches in some of the world’s most challenging environments, improving the lives of vulnerable populations now, and learning ways to maximize the value of digital ID for everyone.

What are ID2020's Technical Requirements?

Our Technical Requirements, which cover seven focus areas applicability, identification and verification, authentication, privacy and control, attestations and trust, interoperability, and recovery and redress can be read in full here.

How do I certify my technology as compliant with ID2020's Technical Requirements?

Our Certification Mark application form can be found here. It details the submission and review process but, in brief:

The Certification Mark application form consists of 50 questions across 7 focus areas: applicability, identification and verification, authentication, privacy and control, attestations and trust, interoperability, and recovery and redress. Our Certification Mark is concerned with these seven, as well as an eighth: openness. While openness is not an explicit category in our application, it is present throughout and helps us better understand a system. If most elements in an applicant’s stack are open, then we view it as trustworthy-until-proven-otherwise. If not, then we approach it with an assumption of untrustworthiness.

Our experts will review your answers and may follow up with you. Once our questions are fully answered, the final results will be published in full online under a Creative Commons (by) license, on ID2020.org. Publishing this information is part of the ID2020 Certification Mark requirements.


What is the ID2020 annual summit?

The ID2020 Summit is a gathering that brings together our community to discuss and debates topics at the cutting edge of digital ID. Look out for more from us in the coming months detailing the next ID2020 summit.


Is ID2020 involved in developing digital ID standards?

Not directly, but ID2020 does work to influence the development of standards.

Our Technical Advisory Committee has identified eight categories, or focus areas, that determine whether or not a digital identity meets our technical requirements of applicability, identification and verification, authentication, privacy and control, attestations and trust, interoperability, recovery and redress, and openness.

Our Technical Certification Mark is the first step in a long process towards achieving “good” digital identity for all. It aims to give companies that go above and beyond to implement “good” approaches to digital identity a way to demonstrate that they do, incentivizing a race to the top.

We are hoping that this certification mark will not only play a market-shaping role, but also a market-making one; we not only want to give visibility to organizations currently building digital identity technologies, processes, and systems that meet our technical requirements, but incentivize new ones to as well.

Digital identities that meet our technical requirements will be awarded certification, but that is by no means the end of the process. We are also working to influence standards and norms-setting groups through an ongoing robust advocacy effort.

Is ID2020 developing products or services?

ID2020 does not develop products, but we do offer advisory services on an ongoing basis to our partner organizations.

Is ID2020 developing technologies/systems?

ID2020 does not develop technologies or systems.

Funding & Donations

Is ID2020 a 501 C-3 organization?

ID2020 is a US-registered 501 C-3 organization.

How is ID2020 funded?

ID2020 is funded by contributions from philanthropies, private sector partners, and individuals.

Why should I donate to ID2020?

Donate today and get involved in setting the course of digital identity, through any of our existing mechanisms!