Omidyar Network believes the ability to formally identity ourselves is a prerequisite for individual empowerment. Digital IDs prove we are who we say we are—through a finger scan, digital wallet, or password—which in turn unlocks access to education, employment, financial services, communication, travel, and voting.
To be truly empowering, digital forms of identification should embed privacy, inclusion, value, choice, and security. The ID issuers should also build trust through transparency and accountability. We cannot assume technology alone will address these issues. We need to build systems that integrate good policy, standard practice, and ethical technologies. We call these systems Good ID.
To this end, we fund companies and nonprofit organizations that, like us, aspire for all ID to be Good ID.
Specifically, we invest patient capital in mission-aligned start-ups to:
- scale privacy-enhancing ideas,
- build technology that helps institutions comply with and exceed new data regulations, and
- test new business models that can disrupt the existing data economy.
Through our nonprofit partners, we also offer objective research, tools, training, and incentives for ID issuers. We believe in making it easier for them to do the right thing. As a result, they are better equipped to build Good ID systems.
We also have partnerships with civil society, academic, and media organizations that help protect people’s fundamental human rights. In their own ways, they hold governments and businesses accountable to safeguards and standards.
Omidyar Network also values open debate. In-person dialogues and Good-ID.org are examples of how we help connect disparate groups that are critical to improving upon and implementing Good ID. Reducing the silos across sectors, services, and geographies is one catalytic way we can help advance Good ID.
This is just the beginning of our investment in digital identity. As we grow our portfolio and learn more, we will continue to invest in privacy-enhancing technologies. We will also build knowledge on how to supply Good ID. And we will call for new norms as well as more transparency, accountability, and debate on digital identity systems.