In 2016, services giant Accenture and technology hub Microsoft, joined hands to build an unparalleled global digital ID program which was to provide as a source of legal identification to those without any. This public-private partnership consortium sees a unified approach of governments, technology giants and NGOs, among others, to provide a legal identity to any human without any documents by 2020, in order to build a more humanitarian society.
On 19th of June, the two companies presented a prototype of the program at the United Nations Headquarters in New York as part of their ID2020 program.
This is not the first time that Accenture has stepped for such a cause. Besides providing pro bono services in consulting, digital services and project management as partner for the United Nations Partnership for Refugees, the firm’s tech is also being used in the Biometric Identity Management System which has over 1.3 million refugees enrolled from over 29 countries worldwide.
In the words of the managing director of Accenture’s Global Blockchain business, David Treat,
“People without a documented identity suffer by being excluded from modern society. Our prototype is personal, private and portable, empowering individuals to access and share appropriate information when convenient without the worry of using or losing paper documentation.”
This tool will permit individuals like refugees, to show their true identities and where they have come from, making them eligible for help and the correct form of support. Merely through an app on their phone, they would able to share their identities after giving their direct consent.
According to a Reuters report, Treat described digital identity as “a basic human right”, for without one it is being increasingly difficult to gain access to basic necessities like education, financial services and healthcare. A sense of marginalization creeps into the society on account of lack of legal identities, and this is the battle that these two companies are trying to fight.
Accenture in a news release declared that the main chain or the final app will not store any personal details and that any identifiable information will always be stored in an off-chain or a side-chain. Only upon receiving consent from the individual, the app will grant access to his/her information, by tapping the off-chain system for the details.
The blockchain prototype built in the Accenture Labs in Ireland runs on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure. It has markedly been based on Ethereum’s blockchain protocol. This is no surprise as both these giants are founding members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), which was started earlier this year, as a cross-industry thinktank providing enterprise solutions.
It has been assumed that the blockchain ID system is expected to support over 7 million refugees from 75 countries by the year 2020.