Creating User-Centric Citizen Identity Programs

Creating User-Centric Citizen Identity Programs

Implementation of best practices must be employed

Governments are implementing innovative programs that are revolutionizing how the world looks at identity and citizenship. There are many examples of nations that are using trusted identities to redefine how they interact with and deliver services to their citizens, from India’s Aadhaar project for bringing personal identification to a record-breaking 1.2 billion people, to Tanzania and its quest to deploy an e-Passport program that anticipates future needs.

There are numerous system elements that are required for launching a successful citizen identification program. These elements cover the whole identity journey from data capture and enrollment through application processing, adjudication, and data preparation to personalization and issuance. A truly end-to-end solution also must include supporting functionality for these processes such as lifecycle management, key management systems and signing and certification services.

For a successful project delivery, implementation best practices must be employed. No two projects are ever the same and therefore it is essential that there be an initial assessment of the legacy system, a full understanding of the customer’s requirements and a study of all relevant project constraints. In the program design and deployment stage, it is important to consider all necessary system elements and how they interact with any legacy processes, and take a customized, modular approach to ensure the best fit with user requirements. It is also crucial to anticipate the support and maintenance any identity solution will need and ensure that local IT and integration support is available and that these resources are fully engaged in the deployment process.

As governments look to optimize their investments, new systems should enable the issuance of different types of ID documents using the same core system components. New and emerging standards and market requirements must also be addressed and incorporated into the solution in a simple and frictionless manner, and its document management system should be able to support the move to mobile IDs as well as the verification infrastructure for authenticating them.

Key Ingredients

The key to a successful end-to-end citizen identification solution is to fully understand how each aspect of the system affects the user journey. Figure 1 shows how HID Global categorizes the steps in this journey in its HID Integrale solution.

The program should enhance the user experience at every step. This of course means recognizing that there are many users of such a system, and that while program success metrics starts and ends with the citizen experience, it is critical to consider the needs of other users including frontline government staff, the team that manage the back-end software and the authorizers and verifiers who use citizen identities in the field. All user needs must be met while adhering to the highest standards of security, privacy, quality and efficiency, whether the identification system is implemented in a centralized data center or a distributed environment. All captured application data must be encrypted both at rest and in transit, ensuring the citizen’s information always remains safe.

Take for example the enrollment process. It is clear that the system should support a variety of application environments and the software should integrate with multiple quality-checking tools such as International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) photo standard check or fingerprint quality assessment. The solution should perform data verification and validation as well as biometric identification, while also supporting integration with the citizen database/register. But what about the citizen experience? The citizen wants the process to be comfortable, convenient and efficient, so it needs to be simple to understand, easy to undertake and performed correctly each time.

It is also important to consider where enrollment will be performed and whether it will need a desktop, mobile suitcase or self-enrollment kiosk, or perhaps even a selfenrollment option using a mobile device. On the other side of the process, the front-line government officials performing the enrollment have different requirements. They need a process that is easily explained and efficiently carried out with the citizen, but they also need clear easy-to-use software with a localized graphical user interface (GUI) that reflects and supports their process and language requirements.

The next stage is application processing, which requires tools for performing Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) deduplication, watchlist and database checks, and exception-case handling. The system should be fully customizable so that it can adapt to any workflow requirements, both today and as they evolve. Here, too, the focus should be on the customer experience. In many cases a citizen may need to wait while this process is performed. It therefore needs to be quick and accurate and provide clear feedback should there be any issues. From the government side there are similar requirements. Accuracy and clarity are paramount to enable prompt action if there is an issue, which might range from simply explaining to citizens that they will need further checks to detaining an individual for fraud or other offenses.

Once the application is approved the next step is secure data preparation, which requires software for handling document signing, chip script generation and document output control. The system must be capable of securely formatting and signing data with country keys as preparation for chip personalization with a chip operating system. Another key component is the PKI system for managing the keys and certificates used to sign personalized e-Documents and enable their verification at control points. The solution should be capable of handling all aspects of key and certificate creation, management, revocation and associated policies. This process should be performed seamlessly in a secure environment to minimize the risk of exposing citizen data or country secrets. At the same time, it also requires customized software outputs for operators, presenting information in a way which is easily understood and that batches the data in a way which suits the upcoming personalization process.

The data preparation step is followed by personalization and quality control. The software must encompass a variety of capabilities including pre-personalization, personalization control, chip encoding, quality control, and assurance and inventory management. The personalization and chip encoding section of the solution should be capable of handling all aspects of graphical personalization, secure chip encoding, print job creation and the final quality assessment of the document. It should support multimachine configurations and integration with major personalization machine brands while also handling multiple chip operating system configurations. Additionally, the software must support the operators of the process by providing clear feedback on the documents that are manufactured as well as rejects and rework plus the health and status of equipment and the maintenance schedules they must apply.

The final component of an end-toend system is issuance. The software must handle the e-Document collection process, post-issuance control, self-service kiosk solutions, e-Document application upgrades and e-Document data renewal. It should simplify the management of the e-ID card lifecycles and inventory control, from the blank document through all personalization, issuance and post-issuance updates. The card management system should feature a localized GUI to retrieve document status in real time while also enabling such post-issuance operations as on-card application updates. Issuance and post-issuance processes again need to take into account the user experiences of both the citizen and government officials. Citizens want to receive their documents quickly, efficiently and securely whether through the mail, a kiosk or in person. When they make changes or updates, they want to be sure that these are done quickly, accurately and in a way which does not compromise their use of the document or the service it enables. Meanwhile the government officials want to be sure that documents are provided to the right citizen and that the post-issuance processes are secure and efficient.

Planning for Mobile IDs

Governments must also plan an easy path to offering mobile identities to their citizens. New technologies enable identity credentials to be enrolled, provisioned and used on mobile devices, presented in a way that does not compromise security or privacy, and authenticated without requiring specialized training. These technologies also give citizens greater control over what identification information they share, in person or remotely, including over the telephone, on websites, or when accessing other digital services.

As countries move from paper or electronic documents to mobile IDs, they can streamline proof of identity issuance through over-the-air provisioning directly to citizens’ phones. This model protects privacy with end-to-end encryption and multiple layers of fraud-fighting security mechanisms, while post-issuance technologies keep mobile IDs current and trustable.

Mobile ID solutions should be an extension of the infrastructure used for physical e-Document programs and should be backed by the same high security standards for data, communication and privacy protection. The solutions should enable issuing authorities to easily add other government agencies and authorized private-sector entities into their ecosystem. This creates new opportunities to improve communication between governments and their citizens while opening the door for people to carry many different government and commercial IDs in one convenient mobile application.

In addition to the modular software suites employed for physical and mobile IDs, a provisioning mechanism is required to securely manage the delivery of the identity to the correct mobile device. Such a provisioning mechanism can be managed on premise by governments or in the cloud and managed by the Government or offered as a service by an external vendor. These platforms manage the provisioning of fully encrypted mobile identities from a central issuance system to citizens’ smartphones while ensuring the privacy of all personal information. An early example is the HID goID Gateway that HID Global has added to its end-to-end e-Passport solution. Deployed by the government of Tanzania, the platform makes it possible to provision mobile “electronic passports” to citizens’ smartphones as insurance in case their physical passport booklets are stolen or lost in another country. The gateway also creates the opportunity for any public entity to deliver localized and dedicated mobile ID services to Tanzanian citizens in the future.

Another key element of a citizen mobile ID program is the smartphone app. This app should include off-the-shelf data structures that enable governments to issue mobile credentials that will comply to standards currently being developed by ICAO and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The most flexible way to create the smartphone application is to provide a software developer’s kit (SDK) so that local developers can produce an application which is customized to local requirements and based on trusted, proven technology. The mobile identity is delivered into the smartphone app by the provisioning service where it is secured to the device using the onboard security mechanisms. The identity can be securely shared on-line or off-line using Bluetooth, NFC or other device-to-device communication technologies.

Finally, a mobile identity solution requires a method for authentication or verification. The provisioning infrastructure must enable the secure distribution of verification applications for incorporation into hardware devices or other software systems. The role of the verification application must be managed by the issuer to ensure that the security and privacy of the citizens is protected at all times.

The latest end-to-end citizen identification solutions include all requirements for a successful program as part of a comprehensive and coherent issuance and verification framework. They provide a customized, modular approach to deploying the major back-end system elements while meeting the exact needs of users and enhancing their experience at each step. These solutions also acknowledge and pave the way for IDs to be carried on citizens’ mobile devices. A complete, end-to-end solution bridges the gap between the physical credentials of today and the mobile credentials of the future, so governments can issue a physical or mobile credential, or both, from a single source, and authenticate them via a single, low-cost verification infrastructure.

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Security Today.


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