Technology Landscape for Digital Identification

Robust, inclusive, and responsible identification systems can increase access to finance, healthcare, education, and other critical services and benefits. Identification systems are also key to improving efficiency and enabling innovation for public- and private-sector services, such as greater efficiency in the delivery of social safety nets and facilitating the development of digital economies. However, the World Bank estimates that more than 1.1 billion individuals do not have official proof of their identity. New technologies provide countries with the opportunity to leapfrog paper-based systems and rapidly establish a robust identification infrastructure. As a result, the countries are increasingly adopting nationwide digital identification (ID) programs and leveraging them in other sectors.

Whether a country is enhancing existing ID systems or implementing new systems from the ground up, technology choices are critical to the success of digital identification systems. A number of new technologies are emerging to enable various aspects of ID lifecycle. For some of these technologies, no large-scale studies have been done; for others, current speculation makes objective evaluations difficult.

This report is a first attempt to develop a comprehensive overview of the current technology landscape for digital identification. It is intended to serve as a framework for understanding the myriad options and considerations of technology in this rapidly advancing agenda and in no way is intended to provide advice on specific technologies, particularly given there are a number of other considerations and country contexts which need to be considered. This report also does not advocate the use of a certain technology from a particular vendor for any particular application.

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