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State Digital ID’s

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 Amidst the growth of national digital ID systems around the world, there are increasing concerns about privacy, surveillance and exclusion harms of state-issued Digital IDs. Given the sweeping range of considerations required to evaluate Digital ID projects, it is necessary to formulate frameworks that can be used for this purpose. For the last year and a half, CIS has been studying digital identity systems and identification processes, thinking through the question of appropriate uses of digital identity. In the first phase of our research, we created an Evaluation Framework to assess the governance of Digital ID across jurisdictions, as well as determine whether a particular use of Digital ID is legitimate. Through three kinds of checks — Rule of Law tests, Rights based tests, and Risks based tests — this scheme is a ready guide for evaluation of Digital ID. We then applied it to analyse national digital ID systems in: 

 The framework was equally effective in analysing specific purposes of digital ID such as: 

 The Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro also adapted the framework to study how Latin American countries were addressing the effects of COVID-19 by use of digital ID based mobile apps. A suitably-designed digital ID system is as important as the accompanying regulatory framework to achieve the goals of digital identity. In our exploratory maps, we dissected national digital ID systems to show the underpinning formal and informal structures in: 

 The maps revealed multiple points of exclusion in the Aadhaar identification process, and provided clarity on the functioning of a unique federated ID system in the UK, amongst other insights. Finally, we also participated in multiple events, using the evaluation framework to reflect on the deployment of GovTech in Covid-19 at RightsCon Online 2020, and made a keynote address at the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology. In our next update, as we continue with our efforts to study digital ID systems from different lenses, we hope to share constitutional law analyses and a survey of the technological landscape of digital ID systems. We would like to thank Omidyar Network India for their support on this project. With warm regards on behalf of the entire CIS team, Amber SinhaExecutive DirectorThe Centre for Internet & Society