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Omidyar Network reflects on Good ID initiative, outlines future plans

Omidyar Network reflects on Good ID initiative, outlines future plans

A philanthropic investment firm created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam is giving details about its upcoming initiatives for Good ID and broader social programs as it nears its final grant.

The Omidyar Network has invested $45 million in the Good ID movement, working to advance ethical, transparent, private and user-controlled digital identities.

With their final grant to expire in 2025, Omidyar Network executives say they will refocus from a digital ID strategy to take on broader, systemic issues. Their new emphasis will be on three themes: reimagining capitalism, fostering responsible technology and building cultures of belonging.

Responsible technology will be a focus. It is important, they say, to create fair and competitive marketplaces with checks and balances for powerful technology companies. Other directions being considered are combatting disinformation, Web3, building safe and private tech platforms and empowering Gen Z to “create positive change.”

In the meantime, Good ID “provides a north star for how we are identified in the digital age that combines ethical practice and thoughtful technology and policy design in support of inclusive and equitable societies,” says a blog post from the Omidyar Network.

“In certain contexts, Good ID will mean ‘no ID’ and protections against surveillance. In others, responsible digital ID programs will mean all members of society can experience greater prosperity, civic participation, equitable health and education outcomes and the dignity that comes with formal recognition and belonging.”

The Omidyar Network boasts about the role that Good ID has played in having the United Nations recognize in 2015 legal identification and birth registrations as a target in its sustainable development goals.

The executives are taking the opportunity to spotlight their support for 90 initiatives spread over 40 countries to promote Good ID, involving civil society organizations The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law and and Namati, researchers like those at the Institute for Technology & Society of Rio de Janeiro, startups including Cambridge Blockchain, and all those involved in the Modular Open Source Identity Platform.

Omidyar also has partnerships with various multilateral organizations like the United Nations, the World Bank, Smart Africa, the Open Society Foundations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The partnerships had helped to promote Good ID standards and to offer financial assistance for countries and corporations pursuing foundational identity systems.

The blog post says at least 25 countries have adopted or are in the process of assimilating some elements of Good ID in practice, policy or design.

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