Editorial

Digital Identity: Global Roundup

Digital identity news from around the world

Posted 18 October 2021 by Christine Horton


Philippines

Financial Software and Systems (FSS), a provider of integrated payment products and a payments processor has partnered with Equicom Savings Bank (EqB) to address online fraud and to boost e-commerce growth.

FSS is to provide its payment authentication solution Secure3D to create a safer and seamless way for consumers to transact in the digital economy. The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets in Southeast Asia, with transactions projected to grow from $4 Billion in 2020 to $15 Billion in 2025.

With increasing adoption, fraud attack vectors have grown in sophistication, and costs are on the rise, amounting to 2.03% of overall annual revenues. FSS Secure3D, modelled on EMVCo 3.2 guidelines, will help Equicom verify customer identity and flag fraudulent transactions before a payment transaction is authorized.

UAE

Western Union and Al Fardan Exchange have announced that the national identity solution UAE Pass will be integrated into wu.com and the Western Union mobile app, improving its digital client experience in the UAE.

Customers will be able to complete their registration and identity verification with a few clicks, eliminating the requirement for in-person authentication.

UAE Pass is a joint initiative between the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Dubai Digital Authority, aiming to provide a single trusted digital identity solution for service providers in the UAE while maintaining a high level of security assurance and seamless user experience.

It is also supported by key strategic partners: Ministry of Interior, Federal Identity and Citizenship and all the Digital Authorities across the UAE.

Nigeria

The University of Calabar (UNICAL) has approved the implementation of the intelligent digital identity system (IDID) and the production of biometric-based intelligent identity cards in order to have digital profiles of its students.

Florence Obi, the institution’s vice-chancellor (VC) said the initiative is to enable the varsity to have digital profiles of all its students. Obi said the decision was in line with the management’s desire to drive a digital education transformation in the institution.

She said the IDID team is expected to start visiting departments and institutes to digitally profile the students.

“Consequent on the decision taken, the IDID service team will be visiting the various academic departments and institutes, to digitally profile the students,” she said.

Obi said all students would be required to present themselves for the triple exercise of personal and demographic data capture, direct digital image capture, as well as direct biometric data capture.

India

India officials reportedly want to use a blockchain to secure the multiple digital IDs that many citizens must hold.

Biometric Update reprots the platform would host Unique Health IDs and others. It will take five years to get all identity applications on the platform, according to industry experts speaking at the Global Blockchain Business Council.

Making the announcement were officials form NITI Aayog, an Indian think tank focused on research and innovation; and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, a scientific society. While autonomous, the advanced computing organization is part of the government’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The ministry has a roadmap to guide the government in building the platform. Officials there have drafted a national blockchain strategy that would see digital identities for the healthcare, agriculture and education sectors join a swath of records — including land records — on the platform.

Nigeria

Nigeria is creating a database of children’s biometrics ostensibly to increase transparency in a school meals scheme. The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) aims to have a win-win approach by boosting local food production and catering while providing meals to children to help them concentrate and attract them to school in the first place. Fingerprints and photos of children as young as five are being collected.

However, the Nigerian media has reported on alleged corruption in the scheme which aims to spend N70 (US$0.17) per child per day for a meal and is already feeding 9 million children a day, at least on paper. The exercise has begun before Nigeria’s data protection law comes into effect and local media have reported technical issues with equipment as well as a surprising number of children turning up for registration.

Kenya

Kenya’s national biometrics-backed digital ID system Huduma Namba has been ruled incompatible with Kenya’s Data Protection Act, and therefore illegal by the country’s High Court.

The government has spent Sh10 billion (roughly US$90.2 million) on Huduma Namba so far, and more than 10 million Huduma Namba digital ID cards have already been issued, officials said during an ID4Africa Livecast in September.

Yash Pal Ghai, a legal scholar associated with constitutional law lobby Katiba Institute, took the government to court to challenge the issuance of Huduma Namba cards prior to the completion of a data protection impact assessment.

The government has been ordered to conduct a DPIA to comply with section 31 of the data protection act before continuing with the digital ID system’s rollout.

Bhutan

Bhutanese eight years and older will soon have their biometric information collected as the government carries out the next stage of its recently-launched national digital identity programme, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) reports.

According to the state broadcaster, the biometrics-backed digital ID project, which will culminate in the issuance of unique digital identification numbers to citizens, is intended to enable access to a range of government services online.