Our Manifesto

Sep 14, 2018 · 5 min read

We are excited to share the ID2020 Alliance Manifesto. Jointly written by partners in the ID2020 Alliance and in consultation with UNHCR, the Manifesto sets out the core principles of the Alliance’s mission, and reflects its guiding ethos. First and foremost among these principles is the fundamental belief that identity is a universal human right, and that all individuals must have the ability to prove and assert who they are.

For the world’s most vulnerable groups, including refugees and stateless persons, reliance on national identification systems simply isn’t possible. ID2020 supports efforts to expand access to national identity programs, but we also believe that we must complement these national efforts by providing an alternative to individuals lacking safe and reliable access to state-based systems.

Individuals also must have control over their own digital identities, including the ways in which their personal data is collected, used, and shared. All people must have the capacity to assert their identity across borders and across time. Privacy, portability, and persistence are necessary for digital identity to meaningfully empower and protect individuals.

Words from our partners

“The ID2020 Alliance Manifesto encapsulates the critical components of building digital identity in a way that ensures safety, security, privacy, and individual dignity, founded on the fundamental principle that the ability to assert and prove one’s identity is a universal human right. When it is too dangerous or impossible for individuals to rely on governments for identity documents — such as in the case of refugees, forcibly displaced, and stateless persons — the world has a moral imperative to provide an alternative. The search for an alternative is legitimate. Developments in digital technologies are making such an endeavour easier, and are giving rise to many new opportunities. As well as helping to address the identity gap targeted by the international community through SDG 16.9, and offering people everywhere new access to online social, commercial and other interactions, digital identity systems are — importantly — also serving to complement and strengthen the identity and civil registry systems of States, which remain the essential foundation of legal identity.” — Karl Steinacker, Deputy Director of the Division of Programme Support and Management, UNHCR

“Closing the identity gap will be an enormous challenge, and will require the work and collaboration of many people and organizations. The shared principles set forth by the ID2020 Alliance lay the groundwork for this work to make digital identities a reality for everyone. Critically, they ensure that individuals have direct consent over who has access to their personal information, empowering individuals to fully participate in society while preserving individual benefit and dignity.” — Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President and Lead for Microsoft Philanthropies

“At Accenture, we’ve seen firsthand how technology can empower the most vulnerable individuals and the organizations that support them. Achieving effective proof of identity, privacy, usability, security, portability and user-centricity are critical to protect the individual and put them in control of their data. The ID2020 Alliance Manifesto sets forth a shared vision for, and commitment to, digital identity that brings together advances in biometrics and innovative technologies, like blockchain, with expertise from business, government and non-government agencies to ensure we have meaningful impact at scale.” — David Treat, Managing Director, Accenture

"The responsible use of Digital ID is one of the most powerful levers we have to empower impact organisations globally to be more effective. We are proud to count ID2020, with its focus on functional, secure, and user centric approaches to Digital ID, as a key ally as we strive to provide millions of people with the ID they deserve." — Sebastian Manhart, COO, Simprints

ID2020 Alliance Manifesto

2 — We live in a digital era. Individuals need a trusted, verifiable way to prove who they are, both in the physical world and online.

3 — Over 1 billion people worldwide are unable to prove their identity through any recognized means. As such, they are without the protection of law, and are unable to access basic services, participate as a citizen or voter, or transact in the modern economy. Most of those affected are children and adolescents, and many are refugees, forcibly displaced, or stateless persons.

4 — For some, including refugees, the stateless, and other marginalized groups, reliance on national identification systems isn’t possible. This may be due to exclusion, inaccessibility, or risk, or because the credentials they do hold are not broadly recognized. While we support efforts to expand access to national identity programs, we believe it is imperative to complement such efforts by providing an alternative to individuals lacking safe and reliable access to state-based systems.

5 — We believe that individuals must have control over their own digital identities, including how personal data is collected, used, and shared. Everyone should be able to assert their identity across institutional and national borders, and across time. Privacy, portability, and persistence are necessary for digital identity to meaningfully empower and protect individuals.

6 — Digital identity carries significant risk if not thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented. We do not underestimate the risks of data misuse and abuse, particularly when digital identity systems are designed as large, centralized databases.

7 — Technical design can mitigate some of the risks of digital identity. Emerging technology — for example, cryptographically secure, decentralized systems — could provide greater privacy protection for users, while also allowing for portability and verifiability. But widespread agreement on principles, technical design patterns, and interoperability standards is needed for decentralized digital identities to be trusted and recognized.

8 — This “better” model of digital identity will not emerge spontaneously. In order for digital identities to be broadly trusted and recognized, we need sustained and transparent collaboration aligned around these shared principles, along with supporting regulatory and policy frameworks.

9 — ID2020 Alliance partners jointly define functional requirements, influencing the course of technical innovation and providing a route to technical interoperability, and therefore trust and recognition.

10 — The ID2020 Alliance recognizes that taking these ideas to scale requires a robust evidence base, which will inform advocacy and policy. As such, ID2020 Alliance-supported pilots are designed around a common monitoring and evaluation framework.

We humbly recognize that this is no easy task, but we see urgency as a moral imperative. This is why we have set ambitious targets and why we hold ourselves to account.

About the ID2020 Alliance

Contact: press@id2020.org


An alliance committed to improving lives through digital…