Biometric and digital identification systems are gaining momentum in South and Southeast Asia for their promises of efficient delivery of services and improved citizen identification processes. Across the region, governments are currently planning for or building such systems with goals of integration and efficiency. However, these systems also raise a number of human rights concerns which need to be addressed, especially as these national ID systems are intended to facilitate access to many public and private services – from health care and participating in elections to applying for bank accounts and registering civil events.
Responding to this emerging trend, EngageMedia, working together with Internews and supported by USAID under the Greater Internet Freedom (GIF) project, initiated research into the digital ID systems in seven South and Southeast Asian countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka – to understand the implications on digital rights and provide recommendations to address critical gaps.
Findings from this report highlighted the heightened vulnerability of marginalised groups who do not have legal forms of identification, considerable threats to people’s privacy and data security, and current gaps in safeguarding measures.
Read the report: