Before FySelf, there was no universal and public identification systems. Identity verification mechanisms vary from one country to another, and each State has full access, which is usually concentrated in its administrative or law enforcement institutions.
How are identities verified in the world today?
The equivalent of an official public registry of people in the 21st century, as archaic as it sounds is a phone book. Then we have the social networks: these could be used with the objective of censoring personal data, but they have the disadvantage that not everyone enters or provides reliable information about themselves.
The technique for registering people’s data has evolved from offline registrations to large databases. But these databases are rarely public: privacy is an increasingly important issue in the public arena. Some of the government institutions that rely on identifying people, have access to these systems.
FySelf proposes a model that has everything: a database that gathers information about each person in the world, but also provides total control by the user to determine whether their data is public, private or protected.
To assess the relevance of FySelf as a unique online identification system, it is useful to know what the existing identification systems are today.
National identification systems
The European Union, which has unified the Old Continent in migration and development issues, is having a debate in the face of the difficulties that arise for not having a unique identification system for all community citizens.
It is considered that the fact that there is no unique identification system for the 28 countries of the region affects the possibility of articulating a true paneuropean market, because banks and insurers have to constantly verify the identity of citizens in many different systems.
The case of Estonia is worth highlighting. Considering “the first digital country in the world” (“El País” newspaper, 2018), it has a unique digital identity system where a good part of the procedures (voting, settlement of debts, renew driving license, registering a company) are made on-line.
To know the name and documents issued by 15 of the national identification systems of the European Union use this link.
In 2015, the United States approved the “Real ID Act”, a record of the Congress that amended the law on standard identification procedures through a driver’s license and other documents issued by the State in question.
Now all the identification documents of that country, normally issued in each State, must comply with certain regulations and their control is subject to the Department of Homeland Security.
On the other hand, Latin American countries have different levels of digitalization in their identification systems.
Some examples of identification systems in Latin America:
- Since 2000, Mexico has implemented the “System for Registration and Certification of Civil Status Acts of Persons” (SIC), but it does not provide many facilities with respect to online procedures.
- Argentina recently applied a Digital Identity System, which allows “validating the identity at a distance and in real time” by uploading a photo of the identity document or simply a photo of the person to the platform. Thus, the access of a citizen or procedures can be managed in an easy and safe way, through the Internet.
- In Peru, the RENIEC system is applied, which ensures having a digital identity through an identification document (electronic ID) and other services such as the online signing of documents, a digital certificate to validate the identity of the citizen on different websites, etc.
- In Ecuador there are ways to know online the status of a procedure initiated in the Civil Registry, as well as consult data and verify certificates through the Internet.
The National Registry of Natural Persons does not allow any type of process or online consultation: its website is merely informative.
A World Bank study determined that one of the most affected regions worldwide with high rates of unidentified people is Africa.
There are still 34 African nations that register newborns with an offline paper-based system.
African countries that still have paper-based birth registration systems:
Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoro, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi , Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Sudan, Togo, and Zambia.
In addition, 10 African countries have less than 50% of their population without access to ID. And another 20 simply don’t have reliable information to calculate it.
In this study, it is commented how Asia and the Pacific is a region where are located both the pioneers and the most backward countries regarding the development of identification systems.
Malaysia, an Asian country, was the first nation to use an identification card that includes recognition for facial and biometric parameters through a chip. That was in 2001. Today, MyKad is regularly used as an access credential to government institutions, as a passport and even as an electronic wallet.
However, a new digital identification system is about to be released in that nation. Obviously, the government has attached great importance to the integration of technological in the face such huge penetration of the Internet into everyday life.
Indonesia is considered one of the most advanced countries in the application of biometric techniques. The identification system is called e-KTP (Kartu Tanda Penduduk Elektronik – Electronic Resident Identity Card) and, according to the government, its implementation was intended to facilitate access to public services, censuses, and prevent phishing or tax fraud.
VietNam is a different case within the region. It has been recognized that this country is still in the process of centralizing the identity system, which is still based on paper but is far from allowing online procedures or authentication. There, the person is identified through a card with a number of 12 digits.
One of the most serious problems in Vietnam is that there is no central registry which administrative branches of government can use. For example, within the national Social Security body there are several databases according to each program in which a Vietnamese can be included: health programs, social programs, and their access is quite local.