Today, 1.1B people in the world have no recognized form of identity, excluding them from modern society.
ID2020 believes the future can be different. This public-private partnership supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 to enable an officially recognized identity for all (including >20 million refugees worldwide) by the year 2030. In 2017, we teamed up with ID2020 to make verifiable digital identity a reality for every individual.
At the heart of our communications was the simple phase ‘I am’ as a simple, empowering way to express your identity. No matter who you are, where you live or whatever your circumstances, showing who you are should be as easy as saying ‘I am.’ Our goal was to create a digital solution using robust, secure and scalable technology to allow every individual to do just that.
Before we could begin formulating a solution, however, we needed to get to the heart of what identity really is and consider the context and external influences on our solution. Some considerations were:
– Willingness/motivation to participate (understanding benefits; no fear of consequences).
-Social and cultural factors (may influence willingness to participate in biometric identity systems).
-Other challenges (literacy/language barriers, etc.).
To answer these questions, we conducted on-the-ground research, which included visiting a refugee center in Turkey to speak with people and better understand the complexities of their stories when it came to identity issues.
Based on our insights, we knew two technologies could combine to make this goal a secure technical reality: biometrics and blockchain. Traditionally, these technologies would be leveraged in different industries (biometrics in science, for example, and blockchain in the financial industry). With this solution, we have merged the power of both technologies in an innovative and effective way, combining the uniqueness of biometrics with the security and interoperability of blockchain to create a more human-focused solution. The technology forms a robust framework for the solution, while the user-friendly prototype brings it to life.
The resulting prototype — the biometric software for which was tested on the ground at refugee camps — is a powerful, scalable solution for people of all walks of life and in many situations. It’s:
-Personal: unique to you, and only you
-Persistent: lives with you from life to death
-Portable: accessible anywhere you happen to be
-Private: only you can give permission to use or view data
Since the launch of the ID2020 prototype at the UN in New York, the potential for this digital identity solution has grown beyond people without an official means of identification to other business areas. It has moved the concept of digital identity forward so much, that Canada has chosen to explore the technology for a trusted traveller programme.
We believe this solution is not only worthy of an IXDA award but strong enough to help ID2020 provide a real identity for every individual by 2030. Finally all people, including millions of refugees, around the globe will be able to say with confidence, ‘I am.’