Episode 02: Digital ID-Double edged sword for the Global South?
This week, the Friendly Troll looks into the double-edged sword that is digital ID.
Digital ID has been linked to development, being part of SDG 16, targeting ‘legal identity for all, including birth registration’ by 2030. Identity is viewed as an access point to other developmental targets such as healthcare, financial inclusion, and education as well as governance, transparency and efficiency. With high rewards comes high risks as governments in the global south will need to rely on private sector actors to build their identity systems. This poses a risk for sensitive data that will relate to fundamental State functions such as elections, social transfers, tax collection and border security as it will fall in the hands of outsiders. In Africa in particular there is a growing concern over the increased use of Identification systems from origins that have troubling pasts. In 2017 the World Bank Group announced the debarment of Oberthur Technologies SA, a French digital security company which is now part of IDEMIA, the controversial firm linked to concerns surrounding voting fraud in the Kenyan elections.
This week’s podcast looks at just how important ID is in Kenya and what needs to be done to ensure that implementation of digital ID doesn’t fall into the traps associated with the implementation of Digital ID particularly in the more vulnerable global south.
The foundational data that can make up digital ID can be used as an exploitative tool and with Africa lagging behind in data protection laws (though Kenya has recently enacted the Data Protection Act) and with digital ID kits needing to be outsourced there lies a great need to have a clear guiding framework for the implementation of Digital ID.
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