[bestbits] [netsociety] Infographic: Biometric ID systems & democracies

Arzak Khan director at ipop.org.pk
Sat Sep 30 02:26:02 EDT 2017

Biometric identification system in developing countries is becoming an indispensable governance tool for ensuring access to educational opportunities, financial services, health and social welfare benefits program, as well as allowing electoral participation for citizens in making transitioning democracies more transparent and strong.  

The recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) goals spearheaded by the United Nations through a deliberative process involving its 193 Member States, as well as global civil society, also highlights the role of robust identification systems and their importance to development specifically as one of the proposed SDG targets (#16.9), but also as a key enabler of the efficacy of many other SDG targets.

Last year the World Bank also launched its Identification for Development (ID4D) agenda highlighting the transformational potential of biometric ID systems for the delivery of basic services to the poor, with the goal of making “everyone count” by providing legal identity and delivering digital ID-enabled services to all. A person lacking a legally verifiable ID suffers legally, politically, socially, and economically. But in the developing world, enormous gains can be obtained from extending services and opportunities to all in new ways that can help developing countries improve electoral processes, political participation, functioning of governments and civil liberties. This all can help lead countries with poor democratic record transform in to a fully functional democracy. 

It will be really interesting to collaborate and research on mitigating the unintended consequences of digital ID systems and probably Center for Communication Governance can help create a multi-stakeholder group for furthering research and understanding of this new phenomena. 



From: netsociety <netsociety-bounces at lists.networkofcenters.net> on behalf of Chinmayi Arun <chinmayiarun at gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2017 2:12 AM
To: bestbits; governance at lists.igcaucus.org; netsociety at lists.networkofcenters.net
Cc: Smitha Krishna Prasad
Subject: [netsociety] Infographic: Biometric ID systems & democracies

Dear All,
This is to introduce an ongoing project which we hope will contribute to the public debate on Aadhaar.  
This work is in response to the argument that India should adopt a biometric identification system because several  other countries have done it. We set out to examine which other countries had done this (starting with commonwealth countries for now), whether they had data protection safeguards and whether they were democracies.
Scroll.in was kind enough to build an infographic  based on our dataset which you can see here. It appears that it is mostly countries with a poor democratic record that use these systems.  Please do take a look.
This is ongoing work, so we would welcome additional information and ways in which we can improve it. In the meantime  we hope that it is of use to you.
Chinmayi and Smitha



Chinmayi Arun | Executive Director

Centre for Communication Governance | National Law University, Delhi | Sector-14, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110078 | Cell: (+91)  971-770-2630 | Fax: (+91) 11-280-34256 | www.ccgdelhi.org . www.nludelhi.ac.in |  Twitter: @chinmayiarun               

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