Microsoft & Accenture to provide legal IDs to over billion undocumented people

The companies unveiled a prototype of the network on Monday at the United Nations headquarters in NY during the second summit of ID2020, a public-private consortium promoting the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of providing legal identity for everyone on the planet.

“By establishing identity, we can help more people gain access to education, health care, voting, banking, mobile communications, housing, and family and childcare benefits”, Casati said.

While it was first developed as ledger for use in bitcoin transactions, blockchain technology is now being used for the secure tracking of data in various other sectors.

Accenture and Microsoft are both founding alliance partners of ID2020, a global public-private partnership that was formed a year ago to help provide digital identity to everyone on the planet.

The new platform will connect existing record-keeping systems of commercial and public entities through blockchain, allowing users to access to their personal information wherever they are. “You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society”, Accenture Managing Director of Financial Services David Treat told the U.N. Monday.

For example, refugees who have fled their country leaving behind birth or education paper certificates would still be able to provide proof of those credentials through the system.

The prototype is framed around an existing Accenture network, which underpins the biometric identity management system that is now deployed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The prototype plays off the strengths of both companies – Accenture’s expertise developing and deploying large-scale biometric systems, alongside Microsoft Azure’s global scale, flexibility and security.

“We believe that identity is one of the most important needs in worldwide development and an area where Microsoft and the private sector are uniquely positioned to contribute”, said Yorke Rhodes, global business strategist at Microsoft.

Aside from the two companies, Cisco Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers are also part of the project.

“One of our goals at Accenture is to improve how the world works and lives by digital technologies to solve some of our most pressing challenges”, said Marty Rodgers, who leads Accenture’s work with the Partnership for Refugees and is the global lead for Accenture’s NGO practice.