A global public-and-private partnership called ID2020 has formed to usher in political, social, and economic participation to those unable to prove their identity.
Supporting ID2020, professional services company Accenture has partnered together with tech giant Microsoft and managed services provider Avanade. On June 19, 2017, the companies announced an identity prototype based on Enterprise Ethereum Alliance's private blockchain technology, which is backed by Microsoft Azure. According to the announcement, the prototype will "empower individuals with direct consent over who has access to their personal information, and when to release and share data. It is a sophisticated decentralized, or ‘distributed,’ database architecture, maintained by multiple, trusted parties on the blockchain, eliminating the need for a central authority."
David Treat, managing director at Accenture, touched on the plight of those without identities and the advantages of the prototype.
“People without a documented identity suffer by being excluded from modern society,” said Treat. “Our prototype is personal, private and portable, empowering individuals to access and share appropriate information when convenient and without the worry of using or losing paper documentation.”
Developers built Accenture with interoperability in mind and allowed for sensitive information to be stored off-chain. In conjunction with Enterprise Ethereum Alliance's permissioned blockchain protocol, Accenture also adheres to the principles provided by the Decentralized Identity Foundation, a founding member of which is Microsoft.
Accenture's Unique Identity Service Platform can manage information that includes fingerprints, iris recognition, and other biometric data, a service the company estimates to be available to over "7 million refugees from 75 countries by 2020." To date, the same system is currently being used by the United Nation's Biometric Identity Management System to track over 1.3 million refugees across 29 countries, spanning Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
In an incubation hub called The Dock, Accenture's Ireland-based team of blockchain researchers developed the prototype project, assisted by Lorna Ross, group director at Accenture's Fjord Design Studio. She said, “This is a great example of design and technology coming together to address the challenges facing so many vulnerable individuals in our society today. We hope that this work will galvanize efforts globally towards a solution that guarantees the right to an identity for the invisible everywhere.”
Marty Rodgers, managing director at Accenture, expressed the company's desire to overcome the world's problems with technology.
“One of our goals at Accenture is to improve how the world works and lives by digital technologies to solve some of our most pressing challenges,” said Rodgers. “ID2020 is another example of Accenture and our partners working together to support some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”