Microsoft & Accenture to provide legal IDs to over billion undocumented people

Reuters

The goal of the project is to assist individuals such as displaced persons to obtain proof of identity with a view to gaining access to such taxpayer funded services as healthcare and education.

The prototype, which builds on Accenture's capabilities in blockchain and its experience developing and deploying large-scale biometric systems, runs on Microsoft Azure, the company's cloud platform that offers global scale, flexibility and security.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cisco Systems Inc are among the organisations involved in ID2020.

Accenture and Microsoft worked on the prototype with managed service provider Avanade and are looking for other partners who wish to participate.

Blockchain delivers a distributed network without a central authority where trusted parties on the blockchain input information which is stored off-chain but remains accessible to individual users.

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The prototype interoperates with existing identity systems used by both public- and private-sector organisations, and doesn't itself store data in any centralised system.

The blocks in the prototype chain will consist of numerous commercial and governmental entities that would have personal identification on file. This platform is now in use to power UNHCR's biometric data identity management system.

That means a person coming from a war-torn country won't have to worry if they leave any important documents behind because it can be accessed through the blockchain system. This will allow people to access their records from anywhere on the planet even if they've lost physical copies of their identity documents, making it suited to the needs of refugees who are often forced to leave their homes with nothing. "You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society", says Accenture financial services managing director David Treat. The system is predicted to support more than 7 million refugees from 75 countries by 2020, the press release noted.

"We believe that identity is one of the most important needs in worldwide development, and an area where Microsoft and the private sector are uniquely positioned to contribute", said Yorke Rhodes, a global business strategist at Microsoft. "We hope that this work will galvanize efforts globally towards a solution that guarantees the right to an identity for the invisible everywhere".

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