Digitising identity to reduce inequality

Today we can already access our finances, applications or personal data without having to show a paper ID. 11Onze looks at how the digitisation of identity can help reduce inequality and improve the quality of life for citizens around the world.


One of the most celebrated advantages of digitisation is the fact that it simplifies procedures with the administration that involve a significant investment of time and money. Now, we can obtain the census without having to go to the Town Hall; we can file our tax return, with advice included, without leaving home; or obtain an official certificate, even if we live in a village, without having to go to a branch office in a large city. This is a new scenario of online transactions that, thanks to digital identification, provides us with agility and security.

This utopia, which is gradually becoming an everyday reality, can bring significant benefits on a social scale, both for citizens and for the administration, such as reducing fraud or achieving more inclusive economic empowerment. All this, however, will only be achieved if this technology is used correctly.


The first major challenge is to identify the population

According to World Bank data, of the 7.6 billion people in the world, almost one billion do not have any form of legally recognised identification. The remaining six billion are divided between those people who, despite having legal identification, do not have the mechanisms to use it in the digital sphere and those who live in countries where digital identification is already a reality, as is the case in Catalonia.

On a global scale, doing administrative or tax procedures online is not as common as it may seem to many of us, and this opens another debate: if offering new digital channels means more opportunities and facilities for citizens, does the lack of access lead to more inequalities? Both communication channels and administrative processes have adopted the digital route as a reference point, and throughout this process technology has left behind all those who prefer traditional channels, whether due to lack of knowledge or lack of resources. This added difficulty in accessing goods and services widens social inequality and jeopardises free access to public resources.

The benefits and risks of digital identification are opposed and, as in any balance sheet, the option that weighs most heavily is the one that can favour more citizens, contribute to social improvement and serve as a tool for evolution, not just as a substitute for old methods. On this point, organisations and bodies that work with vulnerable groups are gaining prominence.


iSocial: technological innovation in the social sphere

NGOs and social organisations have taken a step forward in the social struggle and have introduced technological innovation in a sector that until now had remained on the sidelines. This is the case of the iSocial foundation, which aims to offer innovative solutions for the social struggle. The foundation has created the Refugee Aid App, an application designed for migrants in Europe who have difficulties in the reception process.

The app, called RefAid, connects people in need of support with organisations that provide it, most of which are international NGOs. It is currently available in 14 countries, but not yet in Spain. The same company has also launched Lifespots, a locally oriented application, but with the same purpose: to facilitate community support channels.

One of the concerns for people who have to migrate is the fear of being returned to their country of origin. In this sense, the app offers the security that this data will only be shared between social organisations and in order to guarantee article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which protects “the right to seek and enjoy asylum in any country.”


Digital identification is gaining ground

Another example is the Protection People app (PPa), a platform also promoted by iSocial and aimed at digitally identifying people in an irregular administrative situation, who number more than one billion worldwide. Migrants, people living in situations of extreme vulnerability or who have suffered natural or humanitarian disasters may find themselves in this situation. To accompany them, this application offers them coordination with other NGOs to detect needs and open new paths, thanks to biometric data (fingerprint, facial and palm vein pattern, which do not vary over the years) and the accompanying vital report. 

Identifying people 100% digitally is already a reality and, in part, it is thanks to applications that manage to carry out, in a matter of hours, procedures that governments take months or even years to complete. Technological innovation in the social sphere opens up a new scenario to combat social inequality and provide security and facilities to citizens all over the world.


11Onze is becoming a phenomenon as the first Fintech community in Catalonia. Now, it releases the first version of El Canut, the super app of 11Onze, for Android and Apple. El Canut, the first universal account can be opened in Catalan territory.

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Equip Editorial Equip Editorial
  1. Daniela SimónDaniela Simón says:
  2. Miquel MartíMiquel Martí says:

    Molt en contra del control tecnològic fins a aquest abast. La línia és molt fina entre el bon ús de les dades i la utilització i el control fraudulent de la nostra intimitat. Si ningú ho veu, tenim un problema com a societat.

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Tens tota la raó del món, Miquel. S’haurà de veure com es pot regular tot això de la millor manera possible, per fer-ne un molt bon ús, i que al cap i a la fi sigui positiu per tothom… Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari.

      2 years ago
  3. Ricard Calvo VilanovaRicard Calvo Vilanova says:

    Molt interessant

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Celebrem que ho hagis trobat interessant i que hagi sigut del teu grat. Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari, Ricard!!!

      2 years ago
  4. Manuel Bullich BuenoManuel Bullich Bueno says:

    Un article molt interessant, la digitalització de la identitat ens fa més fàcil el dia a dia amb les administracions, ja no cal fer els tràmits presencialment. Ara és cert q queda molt per fer, per tal q no quedi ningú al darrere.

    • Sergi Colell Vázquez says:

      Això és veritat queda molt per perfeccionar perquè la tecnologia estigui finalment el nostre servei! Gracies per l’apunt!

      2 years ago
  5. Joan Santacruz CarlúsJoan Santacruz Carlús says:
  6. alicia Coiduras Charlesalicia Coiduras Charles says:

    Interesant article ,certament Mb la tecnologia és pot arribar a molts però a l’hora deixa fora persones que no tenent accessibilitat o bé que no poden ,i fins i tot qui no vol

    • Sergi Colell Vázquez says:

      És veritat i és per això que els governs s’han d’implicar perquè les tecnologies arribin a tots els llocs

      2 years ago
  7. Francesc Estafanell PujolFrancesc Estafanell Pujol says:
    Francesc de Borja

    Crec que el nombre assignat d’habitants al món de 7,6 bilions no és correcte. En català, 7,6 bilions són 7.600.000.000.000 mentre que si fos en anglès serien 7.600.000.000 que em sembla més aproximat

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Bona observació, Francesc. Si, si, és tal com tu mateix ho has dit. Al món hi deuen haver uns set mil sis-cents milions de persones. Està ben dit en anglès, però no en català. Ara he avisat i ben aviat ja estarà arreglat. Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari.

      2 years ago
  8. Francesc Estafanell PujolFrancesc Estafanell Pujol says:
    Francesc de Borja

    Calen molts esforços per evitar que s’eixampli més la bretxa digital, La digitalització es desenvolupa amb unes tecnologies cada cop més allunyades de la majoria

    • Jordi CollJordi Coll says:

      Malauradament és molt probable que tinguis raó. Moltes gràcies pel teu comentari, Francesc!!!

      2 years ago

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