As digital public infrastructure becomes increasingly prevalent, governments worldwide are recognizing the need to adopt digital services for enhanced access and development. In response to numerous requests for institutional support, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released a comprehensive blog post outlining a rights-based and inclusive digital ID governance framework.
However, it is essential to address the governance of digital ID systems adequately, as shortcomings in governance can exacerbate the existing issues within these systems. The standards, regulations, and privacy protocols that governments put in place during the implementation of digital IDs will significantly impact the future progress of digitizing public services and digital public infrastructure more broadly.
The blog post underscores the importance of establishing strong governance principles right from the start to ensure the effective implementation of digital IDs that serve the public interest. Proper governance not only instills confidence in the private sector to invest in digital transformations but also fosters trust among end users in the new systems.
The UNDP’s governance framework aims to create a standardized model of laws and policies that facilitate the transition to digital IDs while prioritizing individual rights. It builds on the insights gained from the UN System’s identity management ecosystem, which is rooted in civil registration.
The framework comprises nine key components:
- Legal and Regulatory Frameworks: Establishing the legal and regulatory groundwork for digital IDs.
- Non-Discrimination: Ensuring that digital ID systems do not discriminate against any individuals or groups.
- Access to Information: Promoting transparency and accessibility of information related to digital ID.
- Legal Accountability: Holding parties accountable for any legal breaches or misconduct.
- Capable Institutions: Developing institutions with the capacity to oversee and manage digital ID systems.
- User Value: Ensuring that digital IDs deliver tangible value to end users.
- Procurement and Anti-Corruption: Implementing transparent procurement processes and combating corruption.
- Data Protections: Safeguarding the privacy and security of personal data within digital ID systems.
By adhering to these principles and fostering robust governance, governments can pave the way for an effective digital ID transition that benefits both the public and private sectors, ultimately bolstering trust and confidence in these new systems.