Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 26 July 2021 by Christine Horton


The Union government of India has officially activated its plans to link land records to citizens’ biometric unique identifier Aadhaar, The Wire reports via Biometric Update.

The digital identity linkage plans were approved last January by the former minister for rural development, Narendra Singh Tomar, and are currently being discussed by the ministry of finance, with a decision reportedly expected by September 30.

For context, linking Aadhaar digital identity with land records will work through a Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) assigned to each land parcel.

In order to obtain their ULPIN, citizens will have to first provide official records showing their property ownership.

If officially approved, the Aadhaar system could potentially be embedded within the country’s Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP). DILRMP was scheduled for conclusion at the end of March, but the Indian government has asked for a two-year extension, which is still pending approval by the finance ministry.

According to The Wire, the Aadhaar linking will most likely be deployed first in the nine states where ULPIN is already active. These are Goa, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tripura, Rajasthan and Haryana.

United States

Airlines and non-governmental bodies are developing digital health passes to allow travel in the US in the absence of a federal system. Travelers may be forced to use apps with terms and conditions which allow the passing on of their health data to third parties for profit. Meanwhile digital identity providers eye a global travel market as trials provide case study at Heathrow.

As certain US states, typically Democrat, develop their own digital health passes to certify passengers to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still no federal system. At the same time, other states, typically Republican are banning such vaccine passports, reports Newsweek.

To allow travel to go ahead, airlines have developed their own software and digital non-profit The Commons Project Foundation has also created a digital health pass.

Newsweek reports issues with the privacy policies of these new apps, showing how passenger data – including health data – can be shared with third parties, possibly even for profit. Centralised databases with identity and health data — possibly including biometrics — held together could also be particularly vulnerable to attack especially if databases are designed to be read by multiple foreign governments for immigration purposes, according to the report.


Vietnam is pushing ahead with its plan of developing digital governance as the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has released a draft decree defining guidelines on digital ID and authentication, including the use of biometrics.

According to a blog article written by prominent Vietnamese lawyers Yee Chung Seck and Manh Hung Tran, and published on Global Compliance News, the new draft decree is intended to leverage the digital identity concept which the country has been implementing since 2013.

Vietnam is said to be rapidly adopting digital identity innovation, the smart city concept as well as the development of other technologies as part of the Asian nation’s digital transformation agenda.

Per the blog article, the draft decree, among other things, seeks to expand the scope of its digital ID legislation to include transactions with government agencies as well as the private sector, especially in the banking and finance domains.

United States

The US House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence considered testimony on how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and blockchain can contribute to building digital identity infrastructure.

At the hearing, the Task Force reviewed interoperability requirements and standards for advanced digital ID products given that the private sector and federal and state governments are each “moving at their own pace.”

The Task Force considered the use of AI for individual identification with attendant concerns around algorithmic bias; specifically, that smartphone authentication has exhibited bias against women and minorities and biased and inaccurate data used to train AI systems can skew results, thereby improperly denying individuals access to benefits such as credit, housing or social services.


Former Australian Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton has recommended law enforcement agencies be explicitly prevented from accessing data from the government’s digital identity program, which is being prepared for an economy-wide expansion.

The program currently allows users of federal government services to verify their identity for use across multiple services by accessing an identity framework of identity and attribute providers, with Home Affairs verifying documents and biometrics.

The government plans to introduce legislation this year to expand the program to the states and private sector, creating an economy wide system that could collect sensitive logs and meta-data, and stores it for several years.

The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), which has developed the program over several years at a cost of $450 million, is finalising the legislation it says will establish protections and governance for the scheme’s expansion.


Biometric Updates reports that Liquid Avatar Technologies Inc acknowledges Ontario’s progress in managing the pandemic and respects Premier Doug Ford’s decision to not impose requirements for proving COVID status to access non-essential businesses. But it also points out Quebec’s QR code based system and demand from businesses in Ontario to have a form of health pass as a background for introducing its own digital identity health pass solution.

LAVCE (Liquid Avatar Verifiable Credentials Ecosystem) and its mobile app are currently in the testing stage. It is built on blockchain technology for privacy and user control.

Liquid Avatar parent company Kabn joined the steering committee of Linux Foundation Public Health Cardea project as part of the Foundation’s plan to operationalize its Global COVID Certificate Network in June.


Slovenia has launched the eZVEM mobile app for its EU-compliant COVID-19 digital health pass. The app acts as a further option for Slovenians hoping to prove their COVID-19 status, alongside the national e-health website and ‘paper digital certificates,’ reports Total Slovenia News.

The digital certificate service for COVID-19 status initially launched on June 24 when profiles were added to the national e-health website. But access to health passes there required digital identity. In July the National Institute of Public Health then sent out paper versions of the digital certificate to around 900,000 people.

The app still requires one of two national digital identities. According to the report, it can be used without registration by scanning the QR code on the paper digital certificate to save it on their smartphones.

Parents can use the app to download multiple certificates for family members. The app also allows access to other health documents such as digital prescriptions and test results. A further app should allow the checking of a holder’s COVID status without taking any additional personal details. This is envisaged for use in attending events.