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Simprints wins World Bank ID4D Mission Billion Challenge with toolkit for registration consent


Simprints has won the World Bank’s ‘Mission Billion Challenge’ with an open source toolkit for enabling meaningful informed consent with audio messages delivered during the registration process. Second place in the challenge was awarded to Solid, for a decentralized digital ID and data storage platform using existing internet technology, and third place was a tie between Blockcerts, which provides an open platform for self-sovereign document and credential sharing and verification, and Sthan, which reimagined what it means to physically locate people and things to replace postal addresses.

The World Bank Group’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative launched the challenge in November to identify practical and cost-effective ‘privacy by design’ features that can be embedded into digital identification systems to empower users. The effort supports the operationalization of the initiative’s Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development, which aim to ensure that people currently without identification receive ‘Good’ ID. ID4D will work with the winner, runners up, and other teams to develop their ideas and help identify pilot project and implementation options, according to the announcement.

“Digital identification systems have tremendous potential for expanding economic opportunities and financial access for the poor. Identification systems that are managed in a responsible manner, that prioritize privacy, data protection, and the empowerment of their users, can deliver on this potential,” says H.M. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. “Innovations that help safeguard privacy and make it easier for people to understand how their data is used are critical for building inclusive and responsible digital ID systems that can help people access economic opportunities and financial services more easily and create lasting development impact.”

The World Bank and MIT Solve facilitated Mission Billion Solveathons in Nairobi, Bangalore, Mexico City, Cape Town, and San Francisco, as part of the challenge. More than 170 solutions from academics, entrepreneurs, scientists, and technologists in 54 countries were submitted to the challenge, with 6 finalists selected to present their solutions at World Bank Headquarters.

“Digital ID systems have huge potential to help people in developing countries access services, finance, jobs and other opportunities,” adds Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and Co-Chair of the Identification for Development (ID4D) High Level Advisory Council. “The Mission Billion Challenge brings forward ideas that show how we can implement these systems and protect data and privacy. We hope they will be scaled up so that they can make a difference for the world’s most vulnerable people.”

“Privacy is incredibly important, not just for the developed world, but for everyone, everywhere. Simprints is thrilled to be working with the World Bank on the Mission Billion Challenge to make genuine informed consent a reality,” says Simprints CEO Toby Norman.

Simprints Chief Product Officer Alexandra Grigore explained to Biometric Update in a recent discussion of the challenges of delivering digital ID in the developing world that the company uses multiple indicators to convey the same message as part of its effort to communicate effectively and transparently with people registering for identification.

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