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July 2016

Public-private cooperation to build digital identity systems

Julia Clark's picture
Today, the World Bank, Secure Identity Alliance, and GSMA have launched a joint white paper,  “Digital Identity: Towards Shared Principles for Public and Private Sector Cooperation”. Building on an existing body of research on digital identity for sustainable development, this paper takes a first step in framing key issues, benefits and challenges for public-private cooperation to build digital identity systems. It highlights the primary dividends and risks of digital identity ecosystems, describes the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, and discusses emerging models of identity systems and partnerships. In addition, it suggests some common themes and principles that stakeholders should consider in order to ensure that digital identity systems are inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable. We hope that it serves as a basis for future analytical work in this important area.
 
Individuals, governments and private sector companies share a common interest in having trustworthy systems that enable end-user identity verification. Public sector agencies need inclusive and secure identity systems to administer government programs and delivery of services, including elections, social transfers, tax collection and border security. Similarly, private firms often rely on government-issued identification (e.g., birth certificates and national IDs) to verify the identity of their users and build their own identity systems to support client services. For the end-user, it is all about security of personal data and timely and efficient access to services and benefits.