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Talking Good ID at MozFest

  • Viewpoint
  • By Oarabile Mudongo
  • 2 December 2019

Oarabile Mudongo, digital rights advocate and founder of Funda HQ, shares insights from his MozFest workshop on digital identity policies, practices, and implementation

This year, MozFest marked its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, MozFest has been an opportunity for global movements of people to come together and discuss how the internet can benefit humanity, rather than cause harm. This year, through the theme 'Healthy AI', MozFest’s various sessions explored topics such as how machines are making decisions for us, and what AI advances are on the horizon.

Our workshop on Good ID at MozFest 2019 was an addition to ongoing conversations and collaborative work around the development of digital identity policies, practices and implementation.

The Privacy and Security thematic space hosted us to facilitate a design thinking workshop and chat session. The workshop focused on Good ID in practice and explored trust-building behaviours, particularly in the context of advancing digital ID systems that uphold transparency, accountability, public engagement, individual privacy, inclusion, user value and control, and security.

Participants came from various stakeholder groups, including technologists, civil society, and lawyers. But all had an interest in discussing meaningful ways of implementing digital IDs and assessing existing programs in countries like India (Aadhaar) and Kenya (Huduma Namba).

Kicking off the discussions, participants considered the importance of features that promote Good ID based on policy and technology design. Conversations centred around the following thematic areas: inclusion, user-value, privacy and security, and user control - supported by trust-building practices, including transparency and accountability.

How do we take action for Good ID in our community?

The group also discussed how communities globally can better participate in and promote Good ID. Participants highlighted that there is developing interest amongst stakeholders - especially governments - to launch national identification systems. And throughout the session, participants assessed the two scenarios of Aadhaar and Huduma Namba, and considered issues around implementation, data privacy, ethics and human rights violations. Each participant also reflected on their personal experiences with ID programs, and identified various actions they could take to promote Good ID movements in their respective communities. These actions included potentially hosting discussion forums or running privacy hackathons.

Participants also committed to increasing awareness and accountability of digital ID and to prioritize the inclusion of vulnerable groups. As one participant said: we need “to think more about ways that we can build social values that support minority groups.” Another concurred: “We take action today by opening a public discussion to hear people’s opinions and understand issues in policy-making processes.”