Identity

26 May 2020
NHS Digital has added facial recognition to its app, which allows people to order prescriptions, book appointments, and find health care data, in hopes it will also be usable as an "immunity passport" once at-home testing becomes available. The NHS facial recognition system was built by iProov, and
05 Jun 2020
Estonia has begun testing its Immuunsuspass app, which was developed for the Back to Work NGO by the Estonian technology firms Transferwise and Guardtime working with health specialists. The app, which is intended to help schools and employers make decisions, will have to pass scientific consensus
06 May 2020
In Colombia, Peru, and Panama, quarantine regulations assign men and women different days to go out. For transgender people, these gender-based restrictions mean discrimination and violence for law enforcement and others, leading to numerous complaints. In Bogota, where law enforcement has been
29 Apr 2020
In February, before the pandemic was declared, the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications Department set a deadline of April 30 for citizens to register their mobile phone SIMs, a move the PTD said was necessary to enhance the security of electronic transactions and cut down crime. The PTD issued an
10 Apr 2020
NHS England is using Yoti's digital ID card solution to verify health care workers' identity; the cards are added to staff phones, enbaling them to use a contactless ID app to prove their identity both online and offline. Yoti is providing the system for free for three months to all public health
02 Apr 2020
In Haiti, the National Identification Office has been extremely crowded, despite the government requirement to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. The cards, which include a photo, name, date of birth, and registry number, are required for bank transactions and other official purposes. Source
12 Apr 2020
Ghana's opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, has blamed a spike in cases of COVID-19 on the National Identification Authority's refusal to suspend its registration efforts in the country's Eastern Region even though two citizens filed for a court injunction to halt the operation and
27 Mar 2020
An Accra High Court has ruled that the National Identification Authority can continue registering Ghanaians after two citizens filed a case arguing that continued registration violates the social distancing directive issued by president Akufo-Addo. However, a different division of the High Court
31 Mar 2020
To help the UK's Department for Work and Pensions handle the more than half a million applications the department received in the last two weeks of March, the identity verification company Nomidio, a subsidiary of Post-Quantum, is offering its service free of charge. The service would enable a
07 Apr 2020
British biometric start-ups are helping the UK government create digital passports. VST Enterprises is providing a biometrics-backed digital health care passport, V-COVID, to help critical NHS and emergency services workers get back to work; the passport will incorporate test results and be included
14 Apr 2020
Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte has exempted survey teams and National ID system registrars from lockdown rules on the basis that they are essential to providing cash distributions and other government responses intended to soften the impact of the community quarantine. Duterte argued that the
28 Mar 2020
The Jamaican Government intends to fast-track creating and implementing a national ID system and give every Jamaican citizen a unique identifier in order to help it distribute aid and benefits needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government intends the system to be similar to others such
31 Mar 2020
Biometrics companies are offering free services to essential businesses, remote workforces, and government agencies administering benefits claims during the coronavirus pandemic. Among them are Redrock Biometrics, which is waiving its licence fee for palm print recognition for essential businesses
01 Apr 2020
Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the House of representatives that efforts to combat Covid-19 would be “greatly assisted” by a mandatory biometric national ID system. The national identification system, NIDS, would require everyone to register and be linked to an individual’s unique biometric. The
29 Mar 2020
As part of its efforts to facilitate a transition out of lockdown, researchers at Germany's Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, are planning to introduce "immunity certificates" for those who pass an antibody test to show they have had and recovered from the virus and are ready to re-enter the
23 Mar 2020
Owing to concerns about the possibility of spreading the coronavirus via banknotes and payment cards, Russia has begun testing its Unified Biometric System (EBS) for payments at a selection of grocery stores including Lenta supermarkets. The Russian bank VTB plans a mass roll-out for mid-2020. For
20 Mar 2020
On March 20, the Peruvian government introduced a website where citizens can retrieve the results of tests for COVID-19. The site asks only for the patient to fill in their National ID number and a simple captcha, making it easy for unauthorised parties to access others' results and put people at
18 Mar 2020
On March 19, the Peruvian government instituted a daily curfew from 8pm to 5am, which applies to all but those working to provide essential services. Members of the print and broadcast press must carry their special permits, badges, and ID cards, and those requiring urgent medical care are allowed
News & Analysis

PI explains why the judgement of the Kenyan High Court's judgement on the Huduma Namba matters globally.

In November 2018, Italy's Data Protection Authority advised against a proposal from the country's Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, to replace "parent 1 and parent 2" on children's national ID cards with "mother and father". Salvini, who campaigned for election earlier in 2018 on a socially
In October 2018, the Singapore-based startup LenddoEFL was one of a group of microfinance startups aimed at the developing world that used non-traditional types of data such as behavioural traits and smartphone habits for credit scoring. Lenddo's algorithm uses numerous data points, including the
In December 2018, a report, "Access to Cash", written by the former financial ombusdsman Natalie Ceeney and independent from but paid for by the cash machine network operator Link, warned that the UK was at risk of sleepwalking into a cashless society and needed to protect an estimated 8 million
In a November 2018 report based on a year's study of the use of data scores, Data Justice Lab provided a comprehensive look at the use of data-driven citizen scoring in government, particularly focusing on six case studies drawn from local councils in the UK. The report noted there is no systematic
As early as 2008, the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE began helping Venezuela develop a system similar to the identity system used in China to track social, political, and economic behaviour. By 2018, Venezuela was rolling out its "carnet de la patria", a smart-card "fatherland" ID card that
After an 18-month investigation involving interviews with 160 life insurance companies, in January 2019 New York Financial Services, the state's top financial regulator, announced it would allow life insurers to use data from social media and other non-traditional sources to set premium rates for
11 Feb 2019
A couple who tried, in February 2018, to keep their unborn child a secret from the internet, in part so the child could create its own internet identity when it was ready. They had some success in avoiding being pursued by baby-related ads, but found themselves unable to exercise the control they
16 Apr 2019
In Ireland benefits claimants are expected to register for a Public Services Card (PSC) in order to access benefits. PSC users are expected to have their photographs taken in department offices, which is then digitally captured along with their signature. While this card was originally created to
01 Nov 2017
Cases of people being denied healthcare as they fail to provide an Aadhaar number have already started emerging. A 28-year old domestic worker, for instance, had to be hospitalised for a blood transfusion after she had an abortion with an unqualified local physician. She had been denied an abortion
26 Dec 2018
A startling amount of the internet is fake in one way or another, studies found in 2018. Less than 60% of web traffic is human; a 2013 study found that at least half of YouTube traffic was bots masquerading as people; in November 2018 the US Justice Department revealed that eight people were accused
03 Nov 2018
In November 2018, the UK government announced that 11 local authorities across England would participate in Voter ID pilots in the interest of gaining "further insight into how best to ensure the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud". Five local authorities participated
14 Sep 2018
In September 2018, Google was discovered to be prototyping a search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, designed to comply with China's censorship regime. Among other features, Dragonfly would tie users' searches to their personal phone numbers, ensuring the government could track their queries. Among the
25 Aug 2018
By the time T-Mobile announced in August 2018 that a data breach had compromised customers' names, billing zip codes, email addresses, account numbers, account types, phone numbers, and some hashed passwords, the most crucial of these had become phone numbers. Never intended as identifiers, phone
06 Nov 2018
In November 2018, HSBC announced a serious data breach in its US business between October 4 and 14, when fraudsters used credential stuffing to gain access to detailed account information relating to about 1% of its 1.4 million US customers. HSBC said that in response it had strengthened its login
01 Aug 2018
The common reporting standard brought in by the UK's HMRC in 2018 require tax authorities to automatically exchange information on millions of citizens living abroad. In response, an EU citizen domiciled in Italy who formerly lived in the UK and maintains a UK bank account, filed a complaint with
30 Sep 2018
In September 2017, the UN Capital Development Fund, the UN Development Programme, and the non-profit San Francisco-based startup Kiva, which has worked for 13 years as a crowd-funded microlending platform announced a joint initiative to open up financial services to the 20% of the Sierra Leone
10 May 2018
In May 2018, a report form Strathmore University's Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) found that some staff at Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission who were mandated to protect voter data made millions of Kenyan shillings by illegally selling
05 Nov 2018
In November 2018, the UK government announced it would pilot voter ID for in 11 local authorities during thte 2019 local elections in order to gain insight into ensuring voting security and lowering the risk of voter fraud. The Cabinet Office deemed the pilots conducted in five local authorities
17 Nov 2018
With only days to go before the 2018 US midterm elections, a federal judge ruled that the state of Georgia must change its "exact match" law that required voter registrations with even the tiniest variation from other official identifications to be flagged as potential non-citizens unless they could
08 Mar 2018
A 2018 study of the use of biometric technology for voter identification and verification in Ghana in 2012 called the effort a failure. It's not enough, the researchers argue, for biometrics to be technically sound; for the technology to function as intended registration centres must have real-time
25 Oct 2018
In the run-up to the November 2018 US midterm elections, Vice tested Facebook's new system of mandatory "Paid for" disclosure intended to bring greater transparency to the sources of ads relating to "issues of national importance". Placing political ads requires a valid ID and proof of residence
01 May 2018
In 2018, after the UK Cabinet Office said a trial of compulsory voter ID was necessary because reports of voter fraud had more than doubled between the 2014 and 2016 elections - a claim immediately disputed by a voter and upheld by the UK Statistics Authority. While it was true that there were 21
21 Sep 2018
In 2018 a report from the Royal United Services Institute found that UK police were testing automated facial recognition, crime location prediction, and decision-making systems but offering little transparency in evaluating them. An automated facial recognition system trialled by the South Wales
08 May 2018
In its May 2018 quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Equifax provided its most detailed analysis to date of the company's 2017 data breach. In the US, nearly 147 million people had their names, dates of birth, and/or Social Security numbers stolen; address information was
24 Jun 2018
During 2018, when US president Donald Trump operated a policy under which immigration officers separated families arriving at the border without documentation, there were a number of suggestions for using genetic testing to verify family relationships in the interests of reuniting them. After
20 Apr 2018
In April 2018, the Austrian cabinet agreed on legislation that required asylum seekers would be forced to hand over their mobile devices to allow authorities to check their identities and origins. If they have been found to have entered another EU country first, under the Dublin regulation, they can
25 May 2018
In 2018, the digital marketing company Tell All Digital began marketing technology to personal injury law firms to enable them to send mobile ads to patients they know are waiting for treatment in an emergency room and for up to a month afterwards. The technology relies on geofencing, a technique
17 May 2018
In May 2018, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement abandoned the development of machine learning software intended to mine Facebook, Twitter, and the open Internet to identify terrorists. The software, announced in the summer of 2017, had been a key element of president Donald Trump's "extreme
01 Aug 2018
By August 2018, the UK government's "hostile environment" policy, as set out in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts and other measures, was extending the national border into the heart of services such as banking, education, health, and housing where landlords and staff have been forced to implement
17 Nov 2017
There has been the spread of the linking of the patient identity cards of HIV positive patients, pushed for by the National Aids Control Organisation. While it is not compulsory, in November 2017 it was reported that some patients reported that they were denied treatment until they gave their
23 Mar 2018
In March 2018, a security researcher discovered that the state-owned utility company Indane had access to the Aadhaar database via an API, but they did not secure this way of entry. As a result, anybody was able to use this service to access details on the Aadhaar database about any Aadhaar number
16 Dec 2017
In December 2017, it was revealed that the large telco Bharti Airtel made use of Aadhaar-linked eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) to open bank accounts for their customers without their knowledge or consent. eKYC is a way of using data in the UIDAI database as part of the verification process
04 Jan 2018
In January 2018, journalists found that, for 500 rupees (around $7USD), they were able to buy on WhatsApp access to a gateway that allowed them to access the personal details connected to any of the entries on the Aadhaar database - by entering any Aadhaar number, they could see details like the
11 Sep 2018
In September 2018, a software patch was found by journalists to be widely available, that disabled or weakened the security features in the software used to enroll people on the Aadhaar databse, potentially from anywhere in the world. The patch was reportedly widely-available in WhatsApp groups
Long Read
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the United Nations-led initiative to define the development agenda. Building on the eight Millennium Development Goals, the SDG’s 17 goals – and the 169 targets – serve as an opportunity to tackle many of the most pressing issues in the world today. The
01 Jul 2011
In July 2011, the established writer GrrlScientist tried to log into her Google account and found that it was suspended, barring her access to Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Reader, and the newly launched social network Google+. It turned out that the reason was then when Google launched its
In 2015, the University of Arizona began tracking freshman students’ ID card swipes as part of a project to try to lower the rate at which students drop out or leave for another university. The cards, which include an embedded sensor and are given to all students, can be read at almost 700 locations
On August 1, 2017, Wisconsin company Three Square Market began offering its employees the option of implanting a tiny chip between their thumb and index finger. The chip enables employees to wave at hand at any of the company's RFID readers in order to enter the building, pay for food in the
Like other countries, the US began incorporating RFID chips into its passports in 2006. The chips, which store passport information including name, date of birth, passport number, photo, and biometric identifiers, enable machine-readable border controls like those now seen at an increasing number of
12 Feb 2018
In February 2018 the Home Office gave the Yorkshire Police 250 scanners that use a smartphone app to run mobile fingerprint checks against the UK's criminal fingerprint and biometrics database (IDENT1) and the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS). The app was simultaneously made available
07 Feb 2018
In February 2018, police in China began using connected sunglasses equipped with facial recognition to scan crowds looking for suspected criminals. In a test at a busy train station in the city of Zhengzhou, police were able to identify and apprehend seven suspects accused of crimes ranging from hit
19 Dec 2014
In 2014, researchers at Princeton University outlined an attack that uses multiple third-party cookies to link traffic so that individual users can be identified and tracked from anywhere in the world. A nation-state wishing to surveil particular users outside its jurisdiction, for example, may have
02 Jan 2018
In a letter accompanying his annual report to the Prime Minister for 2017, the British Interception of Communications Commissioner, Stanley Burnton, has expressed concern about the increasingly unacceptable number of errors police are making in resolving Internet Protocol addresses. Because of the
18 Oct 2017
Our usual image of online advertising is that we are one of millions whose data is being examined by a large, remote organisation - a government or major company. Research from the University of Washington has found that anyone equipped with time, determination, and a relatively small budget of $1
23 Feb 2016
A 2016 study from the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation found that in 95% of cases it takes as few as four of the apps users have installed on their smartphones to reidentify them within a dataset. Based on a study of 54,893 Android users over seven months, the
09 Jul 2015
In 2015, Chinese hackers stole sensitive information including social security numbers and residency, employment, educational, and medical histories concerning more than 21 million people from the US Office of Personnel Management. OPM houses this information about all federal employees along with
11 Apr 2016
In March 2016, a hacker group identifying itself as Anonymous Philippines defaced the website of the Philippine Commission on the Elections (Comelec), leaving a message that accused Comelec of not doing enough to secure the voting machines due to be used in the general election the following month
10 Feb 2017
In 2017 two Metropolitan police officers were jailed for five years for hacking into the force's intelligence database and leaking the identity of a protected witness to the defence lawyer in a 2011 murder trial that eventually saw the defendant, Leon De St Aubin, convicted. While the trial was in
25 Sep 2015
In a 2015 study of 79 apps listed in NHS England's Health Apps Library, which tests programs to ensure they meet standards of clinical and data safety, researchers at Imperial College London discovered that 70 of them sent personal data to associated online services and 23 sent that data without
13 Oct 2015
In 2015, a data leak apparently linked to the new Uber partner app exposed the personal information of hundreds of drivers, including their Social Security numbers, scanned drivers' licences, tax forms, and other documents. The information was likely to have been available for at least a few hours
In 2017, a website run by the Jharkhand Directorate of Social Security leaked the personal details of over.1 million Aadhaar subscribers, most of them old age pensioners who had enabled automatic benefits payment into their bank accounts. Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued to