Who are Identity Systems for?

by | May 24, 2021 | ICT4D, Identity |


One of the questions rarely asked in discussions about identity systems is who’s it for. Another is why are we doing it? We don’t need to know who you are to know if you need food, health care, a home or any of the basic needs of life. Knowing who you is not even necessary to determine if you are in more or less need than another.

Part of knowing who you are allows us to track our interactions with you. Hopefully this comes with the intent of being able to help you better, interact with you better. However, I realise this not always the case. Sometimes knowing who you are enables us to ensure you are the same person who received the first round of a vaccine or other treatment. And yet, this isn’t generally necessary.

Hopefully knowing who you are allows us to be more human. To look you in the eye and call you by name. To see and be seen. If identity systems don’t, if they are merely for record keeping or selling data on, then we might as well be a number.

The choice is up to us.

And yes, identity systems are much more than all this. And yet, at their core what and who are they for? It’s worth asking every once and while.

Photo by Lewis Keegan


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