"The world has become interconnected at a level we never before imagined
possible. States, banking, communications, transport, tech and international
development organisations have all embraced digital identification. The current
conversation hinges on the need to speed up registrations to ensure that every
person on this planet has their own digital ID.
We have not stumbled into this new age of digital data management unwittingly.
International organisations such as the World Bank and the UN have actively
encouraged states to provide citizens with proof of their legal existence in an
effort to combat structural poverty, statelessness and social exclusion.
To achieve this, social policy has deliberately targeted poor and vulnerable
populations – including indigenous and Afro-descended people and women – to
ensure they get an ID card to receive welfare payments. By aiming to include
marginalised populations, they are targeting groups that historically have
faced systematic exclusion and have been barred from formal recognition as
My research has revealed how states can weaponise internationally sponsored ID
systems. The book that has come out of this work – Legal Identity, Race and
Belonging in the Dominican Republic: From Citizen to Foreigner
how, in parallel with World Bank programmes providing citizens with proof of
their legal existence, the government introduced exclusionary mechanisms that
systematically blocked black Haitian-descended populations from accessing and
renewing their Dominican ID."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics