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SIA launches project to standardise ID schemes

Open Source API for identity programs will help remove barriers to ID introduction

SIA launches project to standardise ID schemes
The Open Source API for identification aims to help smooth the roll out of ID schemes.

A new project aims to make it possible for civil identity programs to work together.

The Secure Identity Alliance (SIA), an association of public, private and non-government organisations working in the sphere of legal identity and ID registration, has launched its Open Source API for identity.

The Open Source API project will deliver technical interoperability between civil registration registries and civil identification registries. The API is intended to provide standardisation for identity programs and remove vendor lock-in.

The SIA was formed to promote the provision legal, trusted identity for all which in turn will enable the development of inclusive digital services for growth.

The API is endorsed by the world's leading identity system vendors and is intended to support an industry-wide commitment to breaking down the technical barriers to achieving the United Nations goal of establishing a legal identity for every citizen.

By allowing multiple identity registries and systems to ‘talk' to one another - independent of technology, solution architecture or vendor - the Open Source API will solve the interoperability challenges that have hampered the evolution of national identity systems. Governments can invest with confidence - preserving the value of existing systems while evolving their environments without the fear of vendor lock-in.

The Open Source API will be shared on Github from the beginning of the project. Anyone wishing to contribute is welcome to do so.

Debora Comparin, who leads the Open Source API for the SIA, commented: "This initiative is all about making a difference for governments and implementing bodies across the world. It not only reflects how fast the identity market is maturing, but also the commitment of its major players to solving legacy proprietary challenges through ever deeper levels of collaboration and openness. The publication of the Open Source API on GitHub is the first step and we welcome contributions from all players in the identity value chain."

Welcoming the announcement. Dr Joseph J. Atick, Executive Chairman of the ID4Africa Movement, said: "The importance of initiatives of this type cannot be underestimated. A poll of delegates during the recent Annual Meeting of the ID4Africa Movement identified vendor lock-in as the biggest concern for those tasked with delivering national ID schemes. As the ID market matures, governments and implementing bodies must be free to select the most appropriate solutions without commercial or technical restrictions. The SIA's Open Source API is a key enabler and a major step towards harmonising identity schemes across Africa."

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