Mobile ID: An Enabler of Sustainable Development
To be able to realize the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, countries need to be able to deliver services to the whole of their population. One major challenge facing this is that face-to-face services provisioning can only go so far. Therefore, there is a need for government to deliver innovative services over the internet, so-called eGovernment.
For Government to be able to start these new services, there has to be some way to reliably and lawfully authenticate citizens. In fact, person authentication today (be it online or offline) forms the basis for which citizens access services and participate in the society and life in general. Unfortunately, a lot of countries face a daunting challenge to provide digital identity solutions that are cost-effective, easy to deploy and implementable for mass market usage in the midst of the huge number of technologies available.
Today, the World Bank estimates that more than 1.1 billion individuals do not have official proof of their identity. There is thus a race against time for countries to put systems in place to ensure that these people are not left out of the society completely. Bodies such as the World Bank, ITU, etc. are recommending mobile phone-based Identity solutions as the select choice for sustainable, scalable and cost-effective mass-market digital identity solution for citizens. In fact, the Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative of the World Bank exists solely for the purpose of increasing the number of people with official IDs around the world.
Among the selling points given for Mobile-based identity solutions is the proliferation of phones and the fact that a lot of people, especially in developing countries access the internet and invariably services via their mobile, i.e. 80% of all persons who uses the internet in India does so using their mobile phones and similar high figures in other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan etc. Thus, a mobile-based identity, available to the users through their phone at all times make the most sense. It posits that solutions like mobile ID will enable users to identify themselves seamlessly to gain access to government services.
Today, there are lots of mobile identity solutions including Mobile ID (mobile PKI), Mobile Connect, Mobile Authenticator apps and many other app-based mobile identity applications. Of all the so-called mobile identity solutions available today, Mobile ID offers definitely the most secure, tamper-resistant and high assured identity solution which competes favorably with internationally recognized smartcard-based e-ID card solutions. This is because Mobile ID itself is a Smartcard-based solution conveniently leveraging the tamper-resistant crypto SIM cards in phones, and eliminating the need to carry extra devices in Smart Cards or crypto tokens and card readers.
In many developing countries, Mobile Network Operators have mandatory requirement to carry out registration of all their subscribers. This provides an opportunity for MNOs to become a source of strong digital identity within these countries through Mobile ID solutions and provide a path for the previously undocumented people to gain officially recognized IDs required to enable them become full participants in the society.
Mobile ID solutions such as the one offered by Methics is by design open standard based, roamable, interoperable and usable across borders, fully subscribing to and supporting global and regional single digital identity markets enabling faster cooperation and trade between countries.
- World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) Initiative. http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/id4d
- World Bank (2017). Technology Landscape for Digital Identification (English). World Bank Group. Retrieved from: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/199411519691370495/ID4DEmergingTechnologiesReport-Web.pdf?cid=ECR_FB_worldbank_EN_EXT
- ITU (2017). Mobile identification: Implementation, challenges, and opportunities. International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. Retrieved from: https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Regional-Presence/Europe/Documents/Publications/2f_MID_Report_415270-BAT3.pdf
- GSMA (2017). Driving Adoption of Digital Identity for Sustainable Development: An End-User Perspective Report. GSMA Digital Identity. Retrieved from: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Driving-Adoption-of-Digital-Identity-for-Sustainable-Development_An-End-user-Perspective-Report.pdf