ID4Africa is calling attention to a recent Identification for Development (ID4D) report that examines the relative quality of the privacy features in digital ID programs in Austria, India, and Estonia. The report specifically stresses the importance of privacy by design, noting that privacy should be built into an ID program at the earliest stages of development.
According to ID4Africa, a program that has privacy by design should also implement privacy as the default setting, and take a proactive approach with end-to-end account security. The system itself should be transparent, and prioritize the user experience – and the user’s privacy interests – as much as possible.
The ID4D report details some of the ways in which Austria, India, and Estonia have tried to deliver on those principles. For example, Estonia’s program is extremely transparent, with a Usage Monitor that lets citizens view every transaction that involves their personal data. Users can then follow up on any unauthorized requests and control who does have access to that information, as in the case of sharing medical records with healthcare providers.
India, meanwhile, uses several forms of tokenization to make it more difficult for fraudsters to gain access to people’s Aadhaar numbers. If they create a Virtual ID, citizens will be given a randomly generated 16-digit number that they can share instead of their unique Aadhaar number while signing up for different services. The Virtual ID numbers are also temporary. The same person can have different numbers with different organizations, which means the original Aadhaar number is not at risk even if one organization does get compromised.
Finally, Austria’s virtual citizen cards do not store identification numbers in plain text. Instead, data is stored in a PIN-protected SourcePIN Register Authority that can be used to create a unique identifier for every single one of the country’s 26 public administration sectors.
This year’s ID4Africa is currently scheduled for October after being delayed due to COVID-19.
July 7, 2020 – by Eric Weiss