Data Mapping National IDs Around the World

In many crucial ways, identity — who we are, how we prove who we are, and what all of that means to the government of whichever country we are residing in — occupies an essential and vital place in how we experience privacy and human rights. Given that National ID cards, numbers, and systems are popular methods countries use to identify individuals within their borders, it is important to understand these systems and know what National ID system is deployed, where, and how it works.

The World Privacy Forum has created a data map about National IDs; we built the map using raw data from a large World Bank dataset. The result is an interactive map that displays all countries with the presence of National IDs and electronic IDs. The full interactive version of the map is available at World Privacy Forum’s web site. Here, on Medium, we can introduce you to the “map-lite” non-interaction version.

WPF’s National ID data map has two sections:

The map with red shading shows National IDs globally. You can see the global footprint of countries with National IDs below.

Screen shot of WPF’s National ID data map; countries shaded in red have a national ID. Original available at: https://www.worldprivacyforum.org/2017/07/national-ids-around-the-world/

The map with green shading shows the presence of electronic IDs (partial and full). You can see the global footprint of partial and full e-IDs below.

Screenshot of WPF’s e-ID data map (full or partial e-ID). Regions shaded in green have at least a partial electronic ID. Original map available at: https://www.worldprivacyforum.org/2017/07/national-ids-around-the-world/

On the WPF website, we have included a text list of National ID information. Those using screen readers, or those who prefer reading lists of information will be able to hear or read:

  • The name of each country with a National ID,
  • The name of the National ID,
  • The year the National was introduced.

It’s a long list, and in some ways surprising. You can find the full list here; a very small excerpt of the list is below.

Excerpt of WPF National ID data map list, full list available at https://www.worldprivacyforum.org/2017/07/national-ids-around-the-world/

More information about the data map:

Data visualization by: John Emerson of Backspace, for World Privacy Forum.

Data source: World Bank ID4Development Data Set, 2017. Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/id4d-dataset. No amendments or alterations to the data or metadata were made. The 2017 World Bank Data Set is an extremely robust dataset, of which the National IDs and electronic IDs are a subset.

More info about country income levels: A complete country list by income level is available as datasets. Middle and low income countries are available here: http://data.worldbank.org/income-level/low-and-middle-income?view=chart A complete list of high-income countries is available here: http://data.worldbank.org/income-level/high-income?view=chart

Full version: See the full interactive version of the data map at https://www.worldprivacyforum.org/2017/07/national-ids-around-the-world/.