Implications of New Technology for Civil Registration and Identification: Research and Policy

Johannesburg, 14—16 February 2017

FutureID People : The Johannesburg Colloquium on the Future of Legal Identification

Jacqueline Bhabha, Amiya Bhatia,  Keith Breckenridge, Bethan Charnley, Bidisha Chaudhuri, Mark Collinson, Shaun Conway,  Gabriel Davel, Stephanie de Labriolle, Marielle Debos, Sanjay Dharwadker, Tom Fisher, Alan Gelb, Mia Harbitz, Eddy Higgs, Wendy Hunter,  Jonathan Klaaren, Akhila Kolisetty, Paige Lovejoy, Cláudio Machado, Bronwen Manby, Rebecca Mann, Dilip Menon, Maurice Mubila, Liesl Muller, Safiya Nuhu, Ursula Rao, Deborah Rose, Simon Szreter,  Jaap van der Straaten, Alena Thiel, Wendy Trott, Edgar Whitley

Jacqueline Bhabha | FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University| Jacqueline Bhabha is FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  She received a first class honors degree and an M.Sc. from Oxford University, and a J.D. from the College of Law in London. From 1997 to 2001 Bhabha directed the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago.  Prior to 1997, she was a practicing human rights lawyer in London and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  She has published extensively on issues of transnational child migration, refugee protection, children’s rights and citizenship. She is the editor of Children Without A State (MIT Press, 2011), author of Child Migration & Human Rights in a Global Age (Princeton University Press, 2014), and the editor of Human Rights and Adolescence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). Bhabha serves on the board of the Scholars at Risk Network, the World Peace Foundation and the Journal of Refugee Studies.

Amiya Bhatia | Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health | Amiya Bhatia is a doctoral student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Amiya’s dissertation is concerned with ways to measure and monitor health inequities in Low and Middle Income Countries to improve child health. Her current work examines who is missing in health statistics through an analysis of wealth, gender and urban/rural inequities in birth registration. She has also examined the expansion of India’s Aadhaar program in relation to inclusive social protection, and is beginning a project to study the role of cancer registries in addressing inequities in cancer in India. Prior to graduate school, Amiya evaluated health programs run by local non-profits for children affected by HIV in India and Ethiopia. She has also worked on health systems strengthening for immunization for the GAVI Alliance and on the polio eradication program for the Gates Foundation. Amiya holds a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.

Keith Breckenridge |WISER, Wits| Keith Breckenridge is a Professor and the Deputy Director at Wiser. His book -- Biometric State: the Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present (Cambridge, 2014) – shows how the South African obsession with Francis Galton's universal fingerprint identity registration served as a 20th century incubator for the current systems of biometric citizenship being developed throughout the South. He has also published widely on the history and contemporary politics of biometrics,  with important papers in Africa, History Workshop, the Journal of Southern African Studies, Public Culture and comparative anthologies on systems of identification (the full list is here).  This interest in biometrics has also drawn him in to the global institutional history of state documentation, especially the forms of birth, death and marriage registration that are ubiquitous (but very poorly understood) in Europe, Asia and the Americas (see  With Simon Szreter he edited Registration and Recognition: Documenting the Person in World History published by OUP and the British Academy in 2012, a volume of essays which examines the workings and failures of civil registration in twenty different regions and periods around the world.  He is currently working on several book projects, including, Biometric Citizenship, which investigates the global infrastructure of biometric civil registration that is developing in the former colonial world.

Bidisha Chaudhuri |International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore| Bidisha is a faculty member at the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy (CITAPP) at International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB), India. She is the author of the book E-Governance in India: Interlocking Politics, Technology and Culture, which has been published by Routledge (2014). TBA

Bethan Charnley | Bethan studied History at the University of Cambridge and graduated with first class honours in 2015. During her Part II studies she was supervised by Professor Simon Szreter for ‘Comparative History and Policy’ during which the study of population registration and enumeration first attracted her attention. Since graduating Bethan has worked for the management consultancy firm, Elixirr and until very recently was based out in Silicon Valley where she was building the firms ‘innovation network’. She is keen to explore how this technological innovation, from biometrics to blockchain, could be applied in the context of legal identity and has submitted a research proposal to the Oxford Internet Institute where she hopes to further explore these themes.

Mark Collinson | Agincourt, Wits | Mark was co-instrumental in establishing the MRC/Wits Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in South Africa in 1992 and has led the INDEPTH Network Migration, Urbanisation and Health Working Group since 2003. He pioneered the use of health and demographic surveillance systems to study migration, livelihoods and health and has built capacity for this in Africa and Asia. He is PI of a multi-country project advancing knowledge on migration, urbanisation and health, called the Multi-centre Analysis of the Dynamics of Internal Migration and Health (MADIMAH). He is co-PI of an NIH R01 award called “Migration, Urbanisation and Health in Transition settings” which follows rural migrants to keep track of their health and economic outcomes. He is co-investigator of a NIA P01 award called ‘Healthy Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies of INDEPTH Communities (HAALSI)’, responsible for keeping track of participants to minimise loss-to-follow-up, and study health and economic consequences of migration for older adults. In October 2016, the South African Department of Science and Technology launched the Health and Demographic Surveillance National Research Infrastructure, of which Collinson is the selected champion, as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap.

Shaun Conway |Consent| Dr Shaun Conway is the founder of Global Consent and co-creator of TrustLab, a trust-tech venture production studio based in Cape Town. He is a clinically experienced physician with a career in Global Health and Sustainable Development. He has worked with international agencies such as the World Health Organisation, World Bank and UNICEF, as well as government agencies and multinational corporations. As a visionary social entrepreneur, he has founded and grown a meaningful portfolio of startup programmes and enterprises that continue to deliver social impacts at scale. His quest is to transform health and wellbeing at a human scale, growing trust in a decentralised, networked society that uses exponential technologies to meet people’s needs in ways that are more equitable and sustainable.

Gabriel Davel | Alliance for Financial Inclusion | Gabriel is a Chartered Accountant and has degrees in Accounting, Economics and Econometrics, a Masters’ Degree in Development Finance from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and an Advanced Diploma in Banking from the University of Johannesburg. He was a partner at Deloitte & Touche and CEO for both the Micro Finance Regulatory Council and the founding CEO the National Credit Regulator. He served on numerous committees and task teams for the South African government and central bank, covering topics such as competition in banking, SME finance and credit market regulation. Currently he does international consulting, specialising in credit bureau regulation and credit market development and has been involved in assignments in different parts of the world.

Stephanie de Labriolle |Secure Identity Alliance|

Marielle Debos |University Paris-Nanterre (ISP)| Marielle Debos is Associate Professor in Political Science at the University Paris Nanterre and a member of the Institute for Social Sciences of Politics (ISP). Before her appointment at Paris Nanterre, she was a Marie Curie fellow at the UC, Berkeley. Her research interests include armed conflicts in Africa, state formation, identification and citizenship, with a focus on Chad. She is the author of Living by the Gun in Chad: Combatants, Impunity and State Formation, published by Zed Books (October 2016). Her new research supported by the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) focuses on biometric voter registration in Africa.

Sanjay Dharwadker |WCC Group B.V.| Sanjay Dharwadker heads the global ID consultancy practice for WCC, Utrecht ( The organization offers a versatile tool-box for identity search and match, that is currently being tuned to address diverse social issues related to migration, crime and not the least, national identity. WCC works closely inter alia, with the Netherlands government (IND), the European Union (EU-VIS), UNHCR and on projects such as the border-crossing of migrant workers across Mexico – Guatemala. Earlier he worked in Africa for nearly a decade on projects such as identity management and personalized engagement for effective ARV dispensation among key populations. Before that, in India, he was part of the team/s that evaluated and considered the possibilities of using large-scale identity management tools (registration, smart cards and biometrics) for welfare, and participated in the standardization process that helped accelerate low-cost implementations in the last decade, leading finally to the nation-wide Aadhaar program. But it was the earlier decade that provided him the real insights into developmental challenges, when he worked for the Technology Missions initiated in India to break away from the inertia of conventional state intervention. During this time, he traveled to nearly 200 of India’s 600 rural districts – monitoring progress of drinking water and immunization programs. These were then being managed in close cooperation with UNICEF, the World Bank and a number of bilateral agencies. He has made a number of presentations on both the technologies involved as well as their impact and benefits for the people. During 2008-2012 he was on the jury of the Sesame awards for innovations in identification technologies, presented annually during Cartes, Paris. He is a mathematician and computer scientist having obtained his post-graduation from BITS, Pilani, one of India’s leading technology & science universities.

Tom Fisher | Privacy International| Tom is a researcher at Privacy International, a UK-based NGO that campaigns on the right to privacy across the world. He works on government surveillance; the excessive collection and use of data in the private and public sectors; and in the global south both through our own research and advocacy but also through a network of partner organisations. Privacy International has been conducting research, policy analysis and advocacy on ID cards for 15 years, and it is a theme that they work closely with our partners on in the global south. His academic background is in African Studies, with a PhD from the University of Edinburgh exploring the history and politics of ethnicity in Tanzania. He has taught at universities in Tanzania. He is currently engaged in work on ‘fintech’ and the financial services sector, and recently completed some fieldwork in India on this topic and how it links to Aadhaar.

Alan Gelb | Centre for Global Development| Alan Gelb is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Global Development. He was previously with the World Bank, where his most recent positions included Director of Development Policy and Chief Economist for the Africa Region. Prior to that, he managed the program of research on countries in transition from socialist systems and also led work in the area of financial systems. In addition to the topic of identification for development his current areas of research and operational interest include: growth and diversification of African economies; the management of resource-rich countries; and instruments to provide aid on the basis of results. He has written several books and many articles on these and other topics. His interest in the topic of individual identification originated from the recognition that accurate identification and authentication of individuals could contribute to the more effective implementation of economic and development policies. A first focus was on the use of biometric identification systems for cash transfer programs: see (republished in Review of Policy Research 29, January 2012). The work broadened to include a wider range of applications, resulting in an overview of 160 cases in 70 countries; This paper considers the balance between supply and demand for identity services and the relationship between “foundational” and “functional” systems of identification. Other recent pieces include a synthesis of the data released by UIDAI on the performance of India’s biometric program; This data provides the first public evidence of the feasibility of identity de-duplication for large populations in a developing country context. A subsequent paper considers the legal identity and birth registration goals proposed for the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and argues that they should be seen as distinct, though related, goals; Work in progress documents the global spread of national identification programs and some of the implications, including for data privacy and a potential increase in statelessness. It also considers the relationship between such programs and civil and birth registration, noting that in some countries they are disconnected. In addition to strengthening the basic link from civil and birth registration to national identification, the effort and technology used to roll out the latter should be engaged to strengthen the former.

Mia Harbitz |Inter-American Development Bank| Mia Harbitz is the lead specialist in identity management and registries in the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) with over 25 years of experience in development projects. Since 2004 Mia Harbitz has been coordinating IDBs activities in the area of identity management, including a series of studies assessing the practical implications of under-registration of citizens in Latin America. She has designed and managed several projects with the objective to modernize and strengthen the capacities of civil and identification registries in Latin America, projects that are also linked to improving the quality of national vital statistics systems and promoting universal birth registration and civil identification. She has authored as well as contributed to a number of publications on topics pertaining to legal identity, identity management and implications of under registration, as well as books on social inclusion as a means to poverty reduction. Her work in the IADB requires extensive and worldwide coordination with other multilateral agencies, development banks and governments. She has a background in engineering, and prior to coming to Latin America in 1991, she worked in development programs in East Africa and the Middle East.

Edward Higgs |The University of Essex| Edward Higgs completed his doctoral research at St John’s College University of Oxford in 1978. He was an archivist at the Public Record Office, now the National Archives in London, from 1978 to 1993, where he specialized in the public use of census returns. He was then a senior research fellow at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, 1993-1996.  After being a lecturer at the University of Exeter from 1996 to 2000, he moved to the History Department at the University of Essex, where he is now Professor in History.  His main current research interests are in the history of state information gathering, personal identification and the development of biometrics.  He is the author of such books as The Information State in England; Identifying the English: a History of Personal Identification 1500 to the Present; and Making Sense of the Census: the Manuscript Returns for England and Wales, 1801-1901.

Wendy Hunter  |The University of Texas at Austin| Wendy Hunter is Professor of Government at the University of Texas-Austin. She has worked on Latin America for most of her career (Brazil in particular) and is now branching out to study other regions.  Her interest in issues of legal identity and documentation stemmed initially from her research on social policy programs that require beneficiaries to show legal proof of identity.  Before turning to social policy (and by extension issues of legal identity), she wrote a book on the Brazilian military  (University of North Carolina Press, 1997) and one on the Workers' Party of Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 2010) as well as co-edited a volume on the rise of the left in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2010). She received the B.A. at Cornell University. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California-Berkeley.

Jonathan Klaaren  |Wits University| Jonathan Klaaren's  current research interests are in the legal profession, regulation and human rights, and sociolegal studies in Africa. Jonathan has served on a number of editorial committees and boards including those of the South African Journal on Human Rights, Law & Society Review, and Law & Policy. He holds a PhD in sociology from Yale University and professional law degrees from Wits and Columbia. He joined Wits in 1993, was appointed Professor in 2002, served as Director of the Mandela Institute from 2005 to 2007, served as Dean of the Law School from 2010 to 2013, and currently teaches fulltime in the Law School. Jonathan served as a founding staff member of WiSER in 2001-2002 and currently holds a Visiting Professorship at WiSER and the Faculty of Humanities.

Akhila Kolisetty | Open Society Foundations | TBA

Paige Lovejoy |Omidyar Network| Paige  Lovejoy  Nicol  is  a  member  of  the  Digital  Identity  team  at  the Omidyar  Network.  Her  professional  background  is  in  management consulting, serving both US-‐‐public and global private sector clients. She most  recently  worked  with  a  large  emerging-‐‐markets  tele-‐‐ communications provider in the process of overhauling its privacy and data ethics policies and practices. In addition to her work at Omidyar, Paige  is  a  research  assistant  for  Michael  Samway,  a  professor  at Georgetown’s  School  of  Foreign  Service  with  expertise  on  business-‐‐ government  relations  related  to  freedom  of  expression  and  privacy  in the tech sector.

Cláudio Machado |Individual consultant|  Cláudio been working as a consultant in Brazil and in African Lusophones countries since  2014  on  Civil  Registration  and  Vital  Statistics  (CRVS),  Identity  Management, Services Delivery and IT Interoperability. From 2004 to 2014, he worked in Brazilian federal government at the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Planning and the IT public company  for  Social  Protection  (Dataprev).  Previously,he  worked  at local  level government and IT private companies. Cláudio  holds  a  bachelor’s  degree  in  Philosophy  and  MBAs in  Public  Policy Management and IT Strategic Management.As part of the team of APAI-‐‐CRVS Cláudio has been contributing to the improvement of  the  methodology  of  the  programme by  supporting  the  adoption  of  Business Process Management (BPM) approach.Independently Cláudio has been researching the history of the institutionalization of Civil Registration and Civil Identity in Brazil and Latin America, focused on it impacts in the process towards the establishment of citizenship. Cláudio is also interested in Digital Governance and OpenData as a tool to transform public governance.

Bronwen Manby | LSE / consultant| Bronwen Manby is an independent consultant and visiting fellow at the London School of Economics Centre for the Study of Human Rights, and previously worked for the Open Society Foundations and Human Rights Watch. She has written widely on human rights, democracy and good governance in Africa and her current focus is on statelessness and the right to nationality, with ongoing work for the Open Society Foundations, for UNHCR and IOM and others. She is completing a book whose provisional title is “Citizenship and Statelessness in Africa: The law and politics of belonging”, which will also be submitted as a doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Law of the University of Maastricht, with the anticipated defence in 2015. She is involved in ongoing advocacy for the adoption of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the right to a nationality in Africa.

Rebecca Mann |Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation| Rebecca Mann manages the investment portfolio relating to research on the design, delivery, regulation and impact of financial services for the poor at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she is a Senior Program Officer. Previously, she was a lawyer in the financial services regulation and public law division at Herbert Smith Freehills in London and Brussels and holds bachelor degrees in economics and law from the University of Sydney and a Master of Public Administration from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Dilip M Menon | Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, Wits | Dilip is a historian and the Director of the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa. He researches on modern South Asia and is engaged with the larger project of decolonising knowledge in universities in the global south. He is currently completing a book on the historical imagination and the discipline of history in South Asiak, 1860-1960.

Maurice Mubila | African Development Bank| TBA

Liesl Muller |Lawyers for Human Rights| Liesl Muller is an attorney and the head of the Statelessness Project at Lawyers for Human Rights. She provides legal services to clients and conduct litigation on access to nationality and statelessness.In addition to this, She has contributed to a report on Statelessness and Nationality in South Africa (LHR) and the Practitioner's Guide to Promoting Nationality and Preventing Statelessness in South Africa.

Safiya Nuhu | Wits, Law | Safiya is a PhD student at the Oliver Schreiner School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand. My research is on the legal framework for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Data collection and management systems are relevant for the management of IDP trends and information, and thus relevant to my research.

Ursula Rao | The University of Leipzig| URSULA RAO is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Leipzig in Germany. She is head of the Department of Anthropology and Deputy Head of the Collaborative Research Centre “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”. Her current research focuses on e-governance and the social consequences of biometric technology in India. She is completing a manuscript on “Biometric Futures. Rescaling governance through new bodily disciplines”. In the past, Ursula Rao has also written in Hindi- and English journalism, urban space and ritual theory. Her regional focus is India.  Before joining the University of Leipzig, Ursula Rao held academic positions at the University of Heidelberg (1999-2002), the University of Halle (2002-2006) and the University of New South Wales, Sydney (2007-2012).

Deborah Rose |FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University| TBA

Simon Szreter |The University of Cambridge| Simon Szreter, M.A. Ph.D, is Professor of History and Public Policy in the History Faculty, University of Cambridge; and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. He is a founding member of the History and Policy Network and Managing Editor of its electronic journal, History and Policy is a network, whose principal partners are Cambridge University History Faculty, and the Institute for Contemporary British History in King’s College, London. Simon Szreter teaches modern British economic and social history since 1700 and the comparative history of population, development and environment in Britain, Africa, India and China. His main fields of research are demographic and social history, the history of empirical and official social science and the relationship between history, development and contemporary public policy.   He has authored numerous articles in leading historical, social science, medical and development journals, including Population and Development Review, American Journal of Public Health, World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Social; History of Medicine, Economic History Review and The Lancet.  In 2009 he was awarded the Arthur Viseltear Prize by the American Public Health Association for distinguished contributions to the history of public health.

Jaap van der Straaten  |Civil Registration Centre for Development-CRC4D|  Jaap van der Straaten is the founder and chief executive officer of CRC4D, the Civil Registration Centre for Development, The Hague (est. 2010, CRC4D’s work is and has been commissioned especially by UNICEF, UNHCR and Plan International, providing advisory services in the field of civil registration and identity management, with an emphasis on Africa. He led the work of three associates on UNICEF’s A passport to protection. A guide to birth registration programming (2013). A selection of other reports produced for UNICEF, UNHCR and Plan International includes: A report on children lacking birth- and/or citizenship certificates in Montenegro (2011), Fulfilling the rights to identity and social protection in South Sudan, Civil registration support in Cameroon (2012), Equity, legal identity and development (2012), A post-conflict civil registration strategy for Côte d’Ivoire (2012), Government of Uganda draft civil registration policy (2012), Towards universal birth registration in Yemen (2013), Towards universal birth registration in Haiti (2013), Towards universal birth registration in Guinea, Establishing 21st century identity management in Sierra Leone (2014) and the Economics of civil identity management. The case of Africa (forthcoming, 2015) From 1991 through 2010 Jaap worked for Plan International heading up its international grants management in headquarters. In 1998 he initiated Plan’s work on the advocacy for universal birth registration, starting in South-East Asia and expanding to all continents within the next ten years, while nurturing a close partnership for this purpose with UNICEF across the globe. Before Plan Jaap worked for, inter alia, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Suriname) and the Netherlands Economic Institute (now ECORYS, Indonesia). He is a development economist and student of professor Jan Tinbergen (1st Economics Nobel Prize Laureate) and Jan Pronk, the later Minister of Development Cooperation. Jaap holds a Master’s Degree in Economics (1973, Erasmus University) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (1991, Simon School, University of Rochester NY).

Wendy Trott | Omidyar | Wendy is an Investment Analyst for the Omidyar Network - Africa

Edgar Whitley |London School of Economics| A good introduction to my work on identity policies and its real world impact can be found at As co-chair of the Privacy and Consumer Advisory Group I helped formulate the Identity Assurance Principles that underwrite the new UK Gov.verify Scheme.