Good governance of Digital Legal ID is a foundational element of digital public infrastructure (DPI). Welcome to UNDPs new framework for navigating towards a rights-based, multi-stakeholder, governance set-up.
A JOINT COLLABORATION OF:
Governance frameworks can be used to refer to different things, but generally the term is used to refer to how objectives and goals are met in an ethical and accountable manner. A governance framework can be narrow or broad but commonly it includes elements put in place to manage responsibility, risk and accountability of institutions and systems.
Who is it for?
This is intended primarily as a resource for UNDP partners, particularly government and civil society actors, who seek to develop and advocate for rights based, inclusive digital identity systems.
Equality and non-discrimination
Equality and non-discrimination are essential elements of a rights-based approach to digital legal identiy. The governance framework outlines key elements that advance these objectives, specifically highlighting protections against discrimination, including on the basis of sex as well as other grounds for discrimination prohibted in international human rights law, such as race, ethnicity, religion, and disability. It is important to also consider the rights of non-citizens, and ensure that those without proof of legal identity and nationality have the means of verifying who they are. This is particularly important in the context of stateless persons, and this element includes sub-elements intended to evaluate the role of the digital legal identity system in preventing and reducing statelessness. The equality and non-discrimination element includes the following sub-elements: protections against discrimination, and the rights of non-citizens.Explore the Framework Further
Protections against discrimination
Rights of non-citizens
Accountability and the rule of law
The accountability and rule of law framework element contributes to ensuring that the digital identity system, and its management and impact, are accountable and subject to the rule of law. It assesses the extent to which the system provides for the possibility of correcting errors and exclusions, and for remedy and redress, including those relating to private sector actors. The sub-elements assess the appropriate oversight from both independent and judicial institutions as well as resources to support recourse to legal redress. The specific sub-elements that this element includes are administrative review and appeal, independent oversight, judicial oversight, access to legal advice and remedies.Explore the Framework Further
Administrative review and appeal
Access to legal advice
Access to legal advice
Legal and regulatory framework
The legal and regulatory framework is a critical element in the governance of digital legal identity systems. This framework provides the foundation to ensure that identification systems are rights-based, that the management of the system is accountable, and that institutions are mandated to meet the purpose for which the system is designed. The legal and regulatory framework includes sub-elements that articulate the legal authority for the digital legal ID system(s); the relationship of the digital legal ID with other foundational and functional identification systems, the legal status of and requirements to use the digital legal ID credential. The framework also articulates the form and scope of impact assessments to ensure the legal and regulatory elements are contributing to their goals.Explore the Framework Further
Legal authority for the digital legal ID system(s)
Relationship of the digital legal ID with other foundational and functional identification systems
Legal status of and requirements to use the digital legal ID credential
Capable institutions are a critical element of the governance framework for digital identity systems. The institutions that own and manage these systems have crucial roles in how they are designed, deployed and managed. It is important that they are independent of political interference, properly resourced in terms of budget and staff, and have the legal authority and practical capability to fulfil their functions. The relationships between different ministry(ies) /agency(ies) that have a role in digital legal identity should be clearly established, and coordination mechanisms put in place. The capable institutions element includes the following sub-elements: Institutional arrangements for management of ID ecosystem, and Effective coordination and collaboration.
Institutional arrangements for management of ID ecosystem
Effective coordination and collaboration
Data Protection and Privacy
Data protection and privacy are essential elements of the governance framework. The framework elements under this heading relate to the components of the system that ensure sensitive personal data is protected and that individual privacy is maintained. This is particularly important given the sensitive information that digital identity systems collect and manage, the potential for harm through their misuse, and the risk of data breaches. These elements should be viewed in conjunction with others within the framework - laws are only as effective as their application and implementation. The data protection and privacy element includes the following sub-elements: Data protection and privacy laws, Data handling by public and private actors, Data exchange practices and Cybersecurity.Explore the Framework Further
Data protection and privacy laws
Data handling by public and private actors
Data exchange practices
Digital identity systems should deliver value to users. This element is critically important to ensuring that digital identity systems contribute to development that is inclusive and safe, and it advances progress towards the sustainable development goals. This requires consideration and understanding of use cases and should inform design and specification considerations. These should inform how digital identity systems are mandated to enable access to both government and private sector services - and to ensuring that the introduction of these systems as gateways to these services does not lead to exclusion. This also requires consideration around data collection, management and protection as well as planning for system use and applications. The User Benefit element includes the following sub-elements: ID requirements to access government services, ID requirements to access private sector services, Ensuring requirements do not cause exclusions and Data and planning.Explore the Framework Further
ID requirements to access government services
ID requirements to access private sector services
Ensuring requirements do not cause exclusion
Data and planning
Procurement & anti-corruption
Transparency and accountable procurement procedures, and effective measures to counter corruption are important elements of the model governance framework for digital legal identity. These structural elements can help ensure that government procurement is based on up to date standards, including those relating to digital public infrastructure, and assess whether the procuring institution has the appropriate expertise. Ensuring that appropriate anti-corruption elements are present in the legal and institutional framework can help ensure that pre-existing concerns are also addressed. The procurement and anti-corruption element has the following sub-elements: Procurement guidelines define system standards; Procedures for procurement of public infrastructure; Expertise; Extent to which there is an effective anti-corruption legal and institutional framework; Existing concerns.Explore the Framework Further
Participation and access to information
The participation and transparency framework element assesses whether digital legal identity systems are inclusive and represent user interests, and whether the impact of identity systems is evaluated and data about its functioning are publicly accessible. This includes ensuring that there are resources and institutional support to encouraging public participation, and accountability to ensure that participation both takes place and the results are incorporated into policy and planning. Participation also includes the role of legislatures, civil society involvement and the media. Ensuring that the impact of digital identity systems is documented and public accessible requires appropriate monitoring and evaluation by the competent institutions, which should include relevant performance guidelines, and access to relevant information by those not involved in managing the system. The participation and transparency element includes the following sub-elements: public participation, monitoring and evaluation and access to information.Explore the Framework Further
Monitoring and evaluation
Access to information
How should I use the framework?
Study the Framework. Identify valuable national use cases or purpose of the ID systems.
Customise the framework to meet your needs (defining elements and anchor questions).
Conduct desk based research, and interviews with key informants to map the framework against your findings.
Identify gaps in information and /or the need for further research.
Use mapping information to do an analysis identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Convene a meeting of stakeholders to validate analysis, fill gaps in knowledge and generate recommendations for policy.
Use analysis and workshop outcomes to generate an implementation strategy.
This large language model (LLM)-based chatbot can assist on questions related to rights-based, inclusive digital identity systems. It is based on content used to develop the governance framework and supporting material , from a wide range of recognised organisations and experts in the field of governance of legal digital ID.
You can ask about...
"How can inclusivity be ensured in digital ID implementation?"
"Which guidelines are available on ethical digital ID governance?"
"What are potential risks associated with digital IDs?"
Please note: While the chatbot offers insights grounded in reliable texts and expert opinions, it is essential to remember that it does not replace the need for conducting your own comprehensive research, consulting directly with experts, engaging with a wider community of stakeholders, or referring to specific legal documents and human experiences. We encourage you to use this chatbot as a starting point and to dive deeper into topics that resonate with your objectives and concerns.