Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 18 January 2021 by

The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands’ e-government team in the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, are in the final stages of preparing to roll out a digital National Identity programme.

On January 8, the government issued a request for proposals for technology and services to help implement the digital ID card system. The NID will be given to all Caymanians, permanent residents and must be accessible to all residents without specific technology requirements, including residents without smartphones, according to the proposal.

The photo identification card will carry the resident’s name, date of birth, immigration status, a chip, two digital certificates, and an identity number. It will become the dominant form of identification on the Islands, and potentially replacing voter ID cards. Individual’s personal identification data will be stored on the digital ID card’s chip, which can be read by contact through inserting the card’s chip in a reader, and contactless by tapping the card on a reader.


HooYu has been approved by the German Commission for the Protection of Young People in the Media (Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz) last week as a suitable age verification system in the country.

The Kommission ensures that concepts and systems meet the technical requirements to perform age verification using ID document validation and identification via biometrics.

According to the Youth Media Protection State Treaty (Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag), potentially harmful content for minors can only be published and distributed if technical measures are deployed to ensure only adults can access the content.

The HooYu platform will enable adult content providers like gambling operators to authenticate their users using a selfie and a German ID document via biometric liveness detection.

South Africa

Rights groups say plans to photograph and fingerprint every baby born in South Africa for a digital register could lead to data leaks and identity theft without robust safeguards.

The Department of Home Affairs’ new draft policy aims to capture detailed biometrics, unique physical traits of every child born in South Africa and link this data to parents’ identity numbers, which are printed on all ID documents.

The government hopes the new registration system will prevent corrupt officials selling birth certificates to foreigners to illegally secure South African citizenship and protect children who otherwise risk going undocumented. About one in 10 of some one million babies born in South Africa each year are not registered at birth, government data shows. Without birth certificates, they risk exclusion from school and health care and denial of citizenship.

United Arab Emirates

Banking group Emirates NBD has become the first bank in the Middle East to allow new customers to have their identity documents verified using contactless NFC technology when opening a bank account via its Mobile Banking App.

The bank’s TruID solution uses NFC technology to read information from embedded chips in the documents and seamlessly extract data to autofill a digital account application. The customer is then prompted to take a selfie within the app to complete the process.

Emirates NBD’s TruID digital identity verification solution was developed as part of the bank’s collaboration with fintechs VisionLabs and Smart Engines. Apple users can have their biometric passports read using the NFC technology, while Android users can avail electronic reading of both Emirates ID and their biometric passports.

United States

American Airlines has introduced a biometric health passport to streamline travel requirements for all passengers travelling to the United States from international destinations.

The VeriFLY app was developed by Daon and selected by American late last year, and the airline says it will provide an easy way for all its customers travelling to the U.S. to confirm a negative COVID-19 test and satisfy other document requirements.

“We’re expanding our work with VeriFLY to quickly evolve our usage of the app and make international travel easier for our customers,” said Julie Rath, VP of customer experience at American. “We support the implementation of a global programme to require COVID-19 testing for travellers to the United States, and we want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers.”

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