Alison DeNisco at TechRepublic: “Blockchain is moving from banking to the refugee crisis, as Microsoft and Accenture on Monday announced a partnership to use the technology to provide a legal form of identification for 1.1 billion people worldwide as part of the global public-private partnership ID2020.
The two tech giants developed a prototype that taps Accenture’s blockchain capabilities and runs on Microsoft Azure. The tech tool uses a person’s biometric data, such as a fingerprint or iris scan, to unlock the record-keeping blockchain technology and create a legal ID. This will allow refugees to have a personal identity record they can access from an app on a smartphone to receive assistance at border crossings, or to access basic services such as healthcare, according to a press release.
The prototype is designed so that personally identifiable information (PII) always exists “off chain,” and is not stored in a centralized system. Citizens use their biometric data to access their information, and chose when to share it—preventing the system from being accessed by tyrannical governments that refugees are fleeing from, as ZDNet noted.
Accenture’s platform is currently used in the Biometric Identity Management System operated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which has enrolled more than 1.3 million refugees in 29 nations across Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. The system is predicted to support more than 7 million refugees from 75 countries by 2020, the press release noted.
“People without a documented identity suffer by being excluded from modern society,” said David Treat, a managing director in Accenture’s global blockchain business, in the press release. “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.”
ID is key for accessing education, healthcare, voting, banking, housing, and other family benefits, the press release noted. ID2020’s goal is to create a secure, established digital ID system for all citizens worldwide….
Blockchain will likely play an increasing role in both identification and security moving forward, especially as it relates to the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company, is currently experimenting with a combination of blockchain and biometric security for its smart home products, ZDNet reported….(More)”.