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Turing extends digital ID research to DPI with $4M Gates Foundation grant renewal

Turing extends digital ID research to DPI with $4M Gates Foundation grant renewal

The Alan Turing Institute is getting another $4 million over 3 years from the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue its work on spelling out what countries need to stand up secure, private, and trustworthy digital public infrastructure (DPI).

The next phase of the work will extend beyond digital identity to consider secure and private exchanges of data, credentialling, and electronic signatures for digital economic growth, according to the announcement. It will also include the establishment of a Digital Identity Cyber Threats Observatory to monitor media, vulnerability databases and the dark web for threats to the national digital identities.

The work on Trustworthy Digital Infrastructure for Identity Systems will be led by Turing Fellow Professor Carsten Maple and Special Adviser to the Executive Professor Jon Crowcroft, and its outputs shared as digital public goods.

The Institute emphasizes the importance of DPI to helping countries, particularly low- and middle-income countries, achieve national priorities and meet sustainable development goals. Improved DPI can accelerate economic growth by 20 to 30 percent, according to the announcement.

The research will focus on five areas over the next three years: finding and mitigating threats to digital infrastructure; developing trust mechanisms for interoperable cross-border digital ID; improvements in safe data-sharing; building up capabilities for “the design, development, and assessment of trustworthy identity systems;” and supporting understanding of cyber risks at the national level.

The grant follows a $5.1 million, four-year partnership between the Turing Institute and Gates Foundation. The first phase focused on improving the privacy and security of the infrastructure for national digital IDs.

“In the past four years, we have come to share our understanding of trustworthiness in many dimensions of digital identity,” says Crowcroft.” In the next phase of our work, over the course of the next 3 years, we shall extend this understanding to digital infrastructures in general, and to digital public infrastructures in particular.”

The Gates Foundation has been active in promoting DPI, not just with grants but also contributing thought leadership at international conferences and promoting non-profits like MOSIP, which itself has gone under the Turing Institute microscope.

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