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Ukrainian digital ID app Diia goes open-source

Ukrainian digital ID app Diia goes open-source

Ukraine wants to make it easier for other countries to build up their digital identity ecosystems and to help them find inspiration, it is making its own e-government application Diia open-source.

Since its launch in 2019, the Diia project has been attracting interest in places such as Estonia and the UK. Making the application open-source could help the Ukrainian government quickly export it to other countries, Ukrainian Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said in an announcement on Telegram.

“The whole world is focusing on open-source products. The main advantage is that any developer from anywhere in the world will be able to study the documentation and start developing their additional services or microservices that will fit the application,” says Fedorov.

Opening up the source code of the Diia app will also allow the IT community to suggest changes and improvements. The registers and the encryption features of the app will remain closed off, he adds.

“The world’s top products are based on open source. For example, the Estonian application X-Road – on its basis we have built the Trembita system, which is responsible for the rapid exchange of data between registries,” says Fedorov.

Diia currently boasts over 21.7 million users who can access over 70 government services, according to tech-focused publication AIN.Capital. But while Ukraine remains an inspiration for countries looking to introduce digital identity and digital public infrastructure, some aspects of Diia may not be transferable to other environments, Australia’s Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia Vasyl Myroshnychenko explained during an event in October.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the app’s back-end systems were migrated to data centers outside the country to protect them. The country was also aided by the fact that much of its critical civilian infrastructure remains on “legacy” platforms.

“If you attack it, it’s very easy to get back. You just reload it and it works again. So in a way, we were a bit more resilient just because of the older technology,” Myroshnychenko says.

The use of open source code in digital identity has gained prominence in part due to the efforts of the Modular Open-Source Identification Platform, MOSIP.

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