The Identity for All (I4A) Council leads the Sovrin Foundation’s efforts in developing more inclusive and ethical identification systems. We believe that while the decentralized, privacy-preserving nature of the Sovrin Network is a tremendous step forward for the agency of individuals, that technical architecture alone does not guarantee that it will be accessible or fair to the marginalized and underserved populations most in need of robust identification. Part of our remit is thus to help the broader community understand the distinct needs and opportunities in serving these populations, and facilitate efforts at designing appropriate best practices, standards, and solutions.
Distributed Ledger Identification Systems In The Humanitarian Sector
While the humanitarian sector is broadly seen as a laggard in new technology adoption, it has not been immune to the hype of blockchain or distributed ledger-based solutions. New service providers are promising to solve a wide range of persistent challenges in the sector, including identification of beneficiaries, and there are a number of pilot projects that have launched.
But designing identification systems for humanitarian use cases is hard. Beneficiaries are often highly vulnerable, with critical security and protection needs that complicate any kind of data collection regime. The power dynamics between them and organizations serving them is typically extreme, challenging the legitimacy of consent and the resulting contractual relationship. And low levels of technology adoption and digital literacy mean that while digitization opens many possibilities, in many contexts, beneficiaries still effectively depend on organizations for credential and data management.
In an effort to fulfill our mission of identity for all, we occasionally support the work of other organizations or individual contributors that are working in this space. We aim to support work that is objective, critical, and empirically grounded, and believe this report fits that description. As with all external contributors, the views expressed herein are those of the author and may not reflect the views of Sovrin Foundation.
To volunteer and become part of the Sovrin I4A Council, contact the Sovrin Foundation