The ability to prove who you are is a basic human right and critical to a life of dignity and opportunity. But most systems used for identification are archaic, insecure, lack adequate privacy protection, and for one billion people, are inaccessible.
ID2020 is addressing two converging challenges. More than one billion people, including nearly one-quarter of all children, live without any official record of their existence. Without proof of identity, an individual is hindered at every turn — unable to vote, access healthcare, open a bank account, or receive an education — and bears a higher risk of trafficking. Universally, systems of digital identity don’t protect privacy, aren’t portable, and commoditize individual data.
There is increasing international focus on closing the identity gap quickly, and by harnessing the power of information technology, to address it digitally. But addressing the first challenge while ignoring the second, exposes individuals to both the risk of exclusion and the risks associated with misuse of identity data, ranging from identify theft to genocide.
These risks can be especially acute for refugees and displaced populations. Critical to achieving this mission are on-the-ground pilots. ID2020 is currently supporting two pilots, which enable the Alliance to not only provide user-managed, privacy-protecting ID to vulnerable individuals, but also from which we draw critical insights that inform our technical market shaping and advocacy efforts.
ID2020 is applying for support to expand an Alliance-supported program launched in 2018 with the International Rescue Committee and iRespond, a non-profit biometrics organization, to provide a biometrically-enabled, portable and privacy-protecting digital identity platform for refugees living in the Mae La Camp at the Thai-Myanmar border. The objective of the program is to improve the lives of the refugees through affording them greater ownership of their own healthcare records, educational attainment information, and professional credentials.
ID2020 is seeking funding support to expand the program to incorporate verifiable credentials of skills training and livelihood program participation which could the displaced populations served to better access formal employment in future relocations. Contingent on support, we will expand the program to 400 additional individuals, catalyzing a step-change in the program’s impact: with a relatively small grant, we could ensure that those with the skills most valuable for employers outside the camp, have verifiable proof of their skills.