Open for Comment “Human-Centric Identity: a primer for government officials”

Published July 7, 2023

Government officials, policymakers, technologists, legal scholars, and human rights advocates are invited to offer feedback on a new white paper “Human-Centric Identity: a primer for government officials”. This follows the publication of “Government-issued Digital Credentials and the Privacy Landscape” (Flanagan, 2023), which delved into challenges of creating a globally viable privacy-preserving Digital Identity landscape. This paper zooms out and takes a higher level view of the role of Digital Identity Systems in delivering on the role of government. In particular, it grounds that role in the international human rights agenda.

Part 1 explores the opportunities and risks inherent in Digital Identity technologies. The paper then moves into Part 2, which analyzes existing and emerging Digital Identity paradigms and identifies common trade-off decisions. Part 3 builds upon existing principles based literature - especially the recently published OECD Recommendations on the governance of Digital Identity - to navigate a path through these decisions. It recognizes that no one size fits all nations, that no technology or architecture is a panacea, and that  multiple systems may co-exist even within borders. However, it argues that there are design practices and strategic approaches that will lead to Digital Identity Systems that sustain and promote human rights.

The paper results from many months of due diligence, starting with public listening sessions at Authenticate, the November 2022 OIDF workshop, and IIWs IIWXXXV-XXXVI, and many interviews with active people in this space. In particular, the editors would like to thank the contributors who challenged the paper to give voice to the challenges of vulnerable populations, including stateless people, migrant families, and those “edge cases” that just might be central to our humanity (to quote contributor, Henk Marsman).

Your feedback will help ensure this paper serves as a strong platform to inform further dialog with governments, civil society, and technologists. Further, the OpenID Foundation warmly invites other non-profits that support the contents of the whitepaper to consider co-branding prior to its release for Final publication in September. Contact for more information.

The comment period will be open until 15 August 2023. You may submit your feedback to Please use this template and reference specific line numbers for your proposed changes where appropriate. 

We will share more on the final outcomes and recommendations at events throughout 2023-24 and look forward to further collaboration.