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MOSIP’s growth examined as Asian digital identity schemes expand in reach, applications

MOSIP’s growth examined as Asian digital identity schemes expand in reach, applications
 

A profile of MOSIP in the Economic Times says the open-source foundational ID system is now up to 71.7 million people registered in its projects with national governments.

The project is funded by 1.5 billion Indian rupees (roughly US$18.8 million) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tata Trust, Omidyar Network, Pratiksha Trust, and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The Pratiksha Trust, run by an Infosys co-founder has contributed $1 million, the report says, while the Gates Foundation has put up $10 million and Omidyar has contributed $4 million.

A vulnerability assessment was performed by the UK’s Turing Institute, allowing problems in the code to be fixed.

MOSIP is currently being deployed in Sri Lanka, Togo, Guinea, Ethiopia, Morocco, the Philippines and Sierra Leone.

Two of the more prominent MOSIP implementations are in the Philippines and Ethiopia, and officials from the two countries met to exchange insights and practical lessons on ensuring their digital ID systems deliver their intended benefits.

According to a LinkedIn post by the World Bank Group’s Jonathan Marskell, delegates visited the registration center in Marikina, Philippines, to observe the centralized civil registry and decentralized registration process. A field visit to a mobile PhilSys registration operation was also held.

“Philippine Identification System will be a key enabler for digital service delivery in the Philippines in the same way, we envision #Fayda ID for Ethiopia,” the country’s NID said in another LinkedIn post.

Biometrics are often used, but not required, and offline authentication through QR codes and feature phones is also supported.

A MOSIP-lite is in development for smaller countries, like Samoa, the Maldives or Bermuda, which have populations of only tens or hundreds of thousands.

Uganda, Nigeria, Samoa and Tunisia are each reported to have expressed interest in deploying MOSIP for their national digital ID systems.

As MOSIP expands, digital ID issuance and applications continue to expand across South Asia under various models.

Digital ID across Southern Asia

Pakistan’s NADRA is testing out remote biometric registration services delivered by motorcycles and scooters in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, the agency’s Chairperson and CEO Tariq Malik says in a post to LinkedIn.

A fleet of 15 staff on bikes will bring registration services to people’s doorsteps to increase the national digital ID system’s reach among vulnerable communities and people who prefer services at home. Among the latter group, the announcement mentions senior citizens as an example.

The project is planned for deployment to rural areas once its success has been demonstrated.

Digital ID issuance in Afghanistan has reached 8.2 million people, the country’s National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) says, according to the Pakistan Observer.

In an annual update, an NSIA official stated that following equipment problems and supply shortages, printing and distribution of the national digital ID cards has resumed, and 2.17 million have been distributed over the past year.

The agency has dismissed 23 people, meanwhile, on corruption charges.

The uses of national IDs are expanding in other countries in the region, meanwhile.

In nearby Iran, the public morality agency says that images of women with their hair uncovered in the subway could be matched with photos from national ID cards using facial recognition in order to levy fines or other punishments, IranWire reports.

The report indicates that the proposal is the first of its kind in the country, and it is unknown if the government has trialed face biometrics.

Ecommerce businesses in Bangladesh are now required to hold digital business identification (DBID) numbers based on the national digital ID.

The DBID is available to any company with a website or social media account, and is obtained by submitting the company chairperson’s national identification number, The Daily Star reports. A trade license is not required.

The new commerce ministry rules require that businesses be registered for a DBID with a unique company name, and display their terms and conditions on their site in Bengali. They must also display their DBID online.

The rules were introduced at least partially in response to a wave of fraud allegations against ecommerce platforms.

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