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Between Surveillance and Recognition: Rethinking Digital Identity in Aid

– Big Data & Society

How to move beyond polarized debates about digital identity in aid

This paper traces the divided discourse around identity systems in aid, stating that aid organizations see digital ID as a means of inclusion, while privacy campaigners argue it is a means of surveillance and control.

“In this commentary, we describe the dialectical relationship between surveillance and recognition before drawing attention to the ambivalences of power inherent in digital identity interventions in aid.”

The paper argues that we must learn from both sides of the dialogue, while ensuring we are listening to the diverse perspectives from the beneficiaries of this kind of aid.

A depolarized approach is equally wary of techno-apologetics and naïve empiricism as it is of reflex technophobic rhetoric

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