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An Evaluation Framework For Digital ID With Lessons From India's Aadhaar System

– Africa Portal

How to evaluate the risks of digital ID systems

This article explores the Evaluation Framework for Digital Identity, developed by the Centre for Internet and Society, and analyzes India’s Aadhaar system against its rule of law, rights-based, and risk-based tests. Applying this framework can shed light on where the system is inappropriate or breaches users' rights.

“It was hastily implemented in the absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework, is fairly centralized and almost entirely managed by the state, relies heavily on biometric data, and now serves as a legal identity vastly beyond its original welfare delivery purpose.”

The authors write these characteristics of Aadhaar can also be applied to identity systems which are springing up in African countries, and that this framework can also highlight where they crucially must improve in order to prevent them from excluding marginalized communities.

The potential exclusions arising from ignoring these local contexts are exacerbated by the fact that these are often made mandatory, with no acceptable alternative forms of identification. As a result, they bring with them similar challenges of privacy, surveillance, and exclusions than what we experience in India

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