ID2020 Alliance

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This case was submitted as part of the Call for Innovations, an annual partnership initiative between OPSI and the UAE Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI)

ID2020 is a public-private partnership dedicated to improving lives through private and user-controlled digital identity. Today, over 1 billion people live without any form of legal ID, which can leave them economically marginalized and robbed of the opportunity for active citizenship. ID2020 is setting technical standards and launching pilot projects aimed at finding scalable digital identity solutions for world's most vulnerable populations, particularly refugees and stateless persons.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

According to the World Bank, 1.1 billion people worldwide lack any form of officially recognized identity. The majority are children, and tens of millions are refugees, forcibly displaced, or stateless persons. A lack of legal identity leads to a cascade of consequences over an individual's life. Without identity, it is often impossible to access health care, open a bank account, receive an education, or vote. Lack of identity also puts individuals at greater risk for displacement and human trafficking. And for the public and private organizations mandated to serve these populations, inaccurate population data makes it exceedingly difficult to broadly and accurately deliver the most basic of human services.

Succinctly put, ID2020 believes that: (A) identity is a fundamental and universal human right; (B) all people should have the capacity to assert and prove their identity, equally and free from discrimination, and without reliance on any single government or institution; and (C) all people should have control over their own digital identities, including how personal data is collected, used, and shared. We are acutely aware that digital identity carries significant risk if not thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented. The right to privacy and security are inviolable principles that underpin ID2020’s mission and ethos.

ID2020’s initial pilot phase will test a variety of digital identity interventions, all of which adhere to our stringent set of technical requirements and guiding ethical principles. The data from these pilots will generate the robust evidence base required to accurately assess the impact of digital identity on people's lives, and identify the most effective and efficient pathways to scale, so as to meet the needs of the 1.1 billion who are currently living without any form of legal identity.

Two initial pilots will launch in 2018. The first will be led by Alliance partner iRespond, and will be conducted in close partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The pilot will offer blockchain-based digital identification, linked to individual users through iris recognition, for refugees accessing the IRC’s services in the Mae La Camp in Thailand. Initially, these digital identities will enable the recipients to access improved, consistent healthcare within the camp through an accurate and secure electronic medical record. In the future, the same system may electronically document both educational attainment and professional skills to aid with employment opportunities.

The second 2018 pilot project will be led by Everest working in close partnership with The Indonesian National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) in the office of the Vice President of the Government of Indonesia. The pilot will facilitate the transfer of liquid propane gas (LPG) subsidies by delivering them to a biometrically validated digital wallet over a transparent and low cost blockchain. The goal of the pilot is to modernize delivery, reduce financial leakage, and enable banking services through financial inclusion. Addressing the current problems of delivery inefficiencies and lack of transparency will provide economically disadvantaged individuals greater access to energy subsidies.

Future pilots projects, currently in development, will include vaccination delivery and childhood health records, increased financial inclusion through the provision of a verifiable credit history, refugee resettlement, humanitarian passports, among other use cases. In order to ensure continued implementation of these high-impact digital identity projects, the ID2020 Alliance continues to raise a pool of funds and channel those funds towards high-impact programs that meet our core technical and ethical criteria. By driving this type of coordinated approach, on both the technical level and by providing sustainable financing for interoperable identity systems, our operating and governance model supports both our initial pilot phase, currently in progress, and scaled-up implementation beyond 2020.

We firmly believe that scaling to reach the 1.1 billion currently living without identity is not only technically feasible, but eminently possible. One need only point to several existing and ongoing digital identity initiatives -- most notably India’s Aadhaar program -- to see how this is possible. India's Aadhaar program has enrolled 1.2 billion Indian residents since its launch in 2009, streamlining government service delivery, enabling broader financial inclusion through eKYC, and proving that implementation at massive scale is indeed possible. However, Aadhaar (like many other programs) clearly does not go far enough to protect individual privacy or data ownership. The risks inherent to the Aadhaar approach are, from ID2020's technical and ethical perspectives, unacceptable. That is where our innovation -- driving user-centric, privacy-ensuring digital identity -- is necessary.

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