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MOSIP prepares to launch Inji digital wallet for all, identity verification tool

Suite goes beyond foundational ID for full open-source ID infrastructure
MOSIP prepares to launch Inji digital wallet for all, identity verification tool
 

“I can design my own systems, I don’t need IIIT-Bangalore. That would be the success of this project,” says Prof S. Rajagopalan, president of MOSIP speaking of his dream for countries now adopting the foundational identity platforms incubated by the IT institute, “that there would be a large number of clones of IIIT-Bangalore dotted all over the world and they are able to create their own systems.”

Prof Rajagopalan was speaking at the MOSIP Open Source Day, three years to the day since the team launched MOSIP 1.0. With ten countries now adopting the system (they signed an MoU with Niger for a pilot project “a couple of days ago,” said the professor; Uganda and Bahamas are in discussions), the team brought updates on progress, explained new features and reflected on being unknown to users and eventually replaced by local capabilities worldwide.

For now, MOSIP is a component in a broadening suite of services encompassing credential sharing and government welfare dispersal and it is opening more of its experience centers in the Philippines and Africa.

Inji digital wallet, e-Signet identity verification

ID issuance happens once but “verification is for a lifetime,” said Sasikumar Ganesan, head of Engineering at MOSIP. The team realized that more verification options were needed as ID is needed in more use cases on and offline, in places with differing connectivity and access to hardware.

“Being a digital-first ID, you now start to think about how you would use that in different ways,” said Sanjay Jain, chairperson of MOSIP’s Technology Committee. Colleagues then introduced two.

With enhancements for privacy, control and consent via OpenID Connect protocols, e-Signet, an identity verification tool from MOSIP, can integrate with any platform (i.e., with any biometric device) without the need to build new features.

It is quick to integrate with a small authentication wrapper, explained product owner Rounak Nayak. It also allows passwordless authentication across other apps and websites.

Relying parties can integrate it with OpenID protocols, OAuth2.0 and it interfaces with IEEE 33167 secure biometric standard for devices and authentication. A demo video showed how any form of ID credential can be used for identification through the tool (passport, driving licence, national ID) and authentication is completed with OTP, biometrics, a PIN or a digital wallet, including Inji. The user is shown what requests for data are being made by the service provider and the user can consent.

Sandboxes are available for developers to trial the tool and it is being integrated with MOSIP and another IIITB project, the OpenG2P for dispersing government payments and welfare.

The Inji digital wallet is approaching general availability and can be used by anyone in the world to create a digital identity and password tool regardless of the issuing platform of their ID. Again, the user does not need to have a foundational ID issued by MOSIP.

Korean for “knowing, recognition” according to Rakhi VR, product owner at MOSIP, Inji will adopt OpenWallet Foundation architecture and standards alongside OpenID standards and e-Signet issuance as it approaches general availability.

The Alpha release allowed the download of digital credentials from an issuer and allowed the use of Google Nearby sharing protocols. The Beta (May 2022) extended the wallet to iOS, brought face biometrics for offline authentication for activating credential on the spot with relying party, or to share credential with someone else, plus e-Signet integration for accessing digital services and replacing passwords.

Transforming governance

The MOSIP teams are working across a great many projects. So many that it is presenting tough choices as to how to deploy them, says Ganesan.

A key new product will be an Android registration client which will allow door-to-door registration for MOSIP.

Further integrations for handling verifiable credentials such as VC issuance over OpenID, offline functionality for OpenID VPs (verifiable presentations), as well as integrations with other tools such as OpenCRVS, an open-source civil registry.

Sanjay Jain hopes the work will “come together in a way that’s going to transform governance around the world.”

Built on trust – and 1.4 million lines of code

“The confidence of countries in the platform MOSIP is increasing. They always say that trust has to be earned; it’s never asked for,” says Prof S. Rajagopalan. “But the trust we’re seeing from the Philippines, Morocco and Latin America … we have a model of creating digital public infrastructure for any country in the world.”

Open-source has “broken that myth” of being for small projects and university experiments said the professor: “For the first time, an open-source platform has been used to provide identity to close to 80 million of people.”

The platform is built on 1.4 million lines of code and can be delivered and maintained to the same standard as any other platform he said. Adopting countries are emboldened to ask more questions of MOSIP. “This platform is not like a black box where a vendor comes and delivers a black box and you don’t know what is inside and you can’t ask further questions,” said Rajagopalan, referring to further costs incurred by even asking questions of some providers.

MOSIP now has an ecosystem of more than 70 commercial partners. The community also generates trust he said. MOSIP even showcased its products to the UNDP for use in Ukraine for delivering government services in 2022.

“So many new ideas have come from device manufacturers, such as card printers,” said the professor, noting how they also trust the system to invest in developments for it.

But ultimately, implementing the foundational ID is “a journey by which we are empowering countries.” The professor believes that MOSIP will succeed when countries that adopt it eventually go on to develop their own digital infrastructures instead.

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