IDINA Project – Inclusive non-authoritative digital identity, developed by INESC TEC’s High-Assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab), is the winner of the IN3+ Award, promoted by the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office (INCM), worth 600 thousand euros. The project aims to create an identification platform open to all citizens, in countries that do not have central identification systems (civil registration infrastructures).

IDINA will facilitate the access to identification documents by citizens

According to the United Nations and the World Bank, approximately one billion people worldwide do not own a legal identification document. This obstacle can limit their access to essential services, such as healthcare or education.

About 26% of children in the world do not own a birth certificate. This issue is not exclusive to least developed countries – there are many refugee camps in Europe where this problem is a reality. Ensuring that these children are recognised by the central systems of the countries where they’re born, gives them a chance to have a more equitable future. In this sense, this project aims to “map” social trust relationships, in order to create a non- authoritative identification system, thus allowing representatives from schools, healthcare institutions or local authorities to certify the birth of these citizens”, explained João Marco Silva, researcher at INESC TEC, lecturer at the University of Minho and visiting fellow at the United Nations University.

The innovative nature of IDINA will help exploring the potential of institutions and other agents that work in the field, as sources of reliable informationabout citizens, with whom they have direct contact (non-governmental entities, for instance). In this sense, it will be possible to validate the data provided by the different entities about each citizen, and improve them throughout their life event

“This project brings different challenges, like designing the mechanisms to validate the information provided by these agents, detecting cases of misuse and fraud, ensuring the comprehensiveness, privacy and protection of personal data, and guaranteeing the integration and interoperability with information systems already in force (from NGOs or the State)”, added the INESC TEC researcher.

These data – collected in a distributed and independent manner – will constitute the evidence that validates the citizens’ identity among the entities they interact with on a regular basis. “This tool presents itself as a pragmatic solution, independent from the State, and, therefore, non-authoritative”, emphasised João Marco Silva.

Prototypes should be concluded in 2025

The investment in the development of pilots, in liaison with non-governmental entities with recognised experience, will help validating the proposed solution and the tools developed throughout the project. The team, which includes the HASLab researchers António Sousa and Vítor Fonte, also lecturers at the UMinho School of Engineering and the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), expects to have functional prototypes within three to four years.

The IDINA project is the winner of the IN3+ Award, promoted by the Portuguese Mint and Official Printing Office (INCM), whose objective is to support the development of new ideas, at national and international level. The project will receive €600K to develop the solution presented and apply it on a real scale, contributing to improve the supply of products and services that will reach all people.

The prize was awarded on march 29th 2021, during an online event with the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Prime Minister, António Costa.

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UMinho.