Create Our Legacy/ COL-ID
We aim to enable everyone to have access and control over their own identities.
Date You Started Your Project Started
July 8th, 2019
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
According to the UN, 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have a way to claim ownership over their identity. Due to this, not only are they excluded from employment opportunities and government services, but they are also at risk of financial exploitation and human trafficking. To solve this COL-ID uses distributed ledger technology to create a digital id for those, such as refugees and the homeless, who do not have their original documentation.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
At COL-ID we strive to allow our users to have control over their identities, furthering the opportunities they have access to and improving their livelihoods. To accomplish this, we would use a specific type of blockchain code, working with public and private keys to control the access of the data. This type of system would enable our users to be the owners of a private key, allowing them access to their own ids, which then can be verified through a community of those with public keys.
A global, borderless and open digital identity powered by DLT will solve the lack of identity by issuing a unique digital ID based on an individual’s biometric data and peer to peer verification. Once the COL-ID is generated then DLT will help validate the identity of the person and be independent of a particular platform or architecture. The identity will have a long shelf life (ideally forever) and the sharing of this unique ID data will be only through the consent of the user. Other organizations should be able to access only what is needed and not the complete information and the user rights will be protected.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
I see the perils of homelessness on the streets of New York City and through volunteering in shelters, I have learned about the vicious cycle of poverty where homelessness leads to the loss of physical ID documentations like SSN/Passports. This loss can lead to exclusion from financial services, government aid, and even denied entry to a shelter.
Additionally, this summer, after a rigorous application and interview process, I gained acceptance to a prestigious paid internship program in Jersey City. With a spot at JPMorgan secured, I was excited to get the opportunity to intern there. Yet, before it began, I discovered that I couldn’t participate due to my visa status. With my dependent visa, I was not issued an SSN and so I could not intern there. This inspired me to research digital ids and work on ways to improve the situation for those who are affected by it.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
COL-ID will utilize a decentralized system where trust is based on attestations: claims that other entities endorse–which helps prove facets of one’s identity. The need for trust and accountability are potentially the most important driving forces behind the use of DLT. Once created, my goal is to advocate the use of this ID by central authorities, public institutions, and private organizations and accept these digital IDs as valid and to work together to create standards for interoperability.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
When Luke, a homeless man gives consent to having his COL-ID setup - his biometric details are noted; i.e: fingerprints, retina scan and facial recognition are taken and he also brings along two of his care-givers in the homeless shelter to attest to his height and eye color. The foundation of strong identity verification systems is these biometric credentials and not self-asserted credentials. These biometric features are noted digitally in a secure independently managed data structure chain and based on these unique features the COL-ID for Luke is setup. This ID can be verified by any financial or government institution using APIs. Now, Luke has a chance to rebuild his life. With a proper ID, he can qualify for government aid, food stamps, and apply for an SSN, allowing him to open a bank account. Luke can apply for jobs and a lease, moving out of the shelter and into his own home.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
COL-ID uses a privately managed, independent, and global system that would provide verifiable digital identification through both independently conducted data and a peer-to-peer process. Unlike others, COL-ID would build an alliance with NGOs and private non-profit foundations (e.g: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), instead of local governments and institutions to drive the idea into fruition. With data tracking becoming more prevalent, this unique partnership would allow COL-ID to support the idea that privacy for our user’s digital ids remains as one of our core beliefs.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
COL-ID targets the unserved - the homeless and refugees who need these IDs as a basic necessity. By partnering with nonprofits, we strive to use our data to streamline the process of allowing those without proper identification to become integrated back into the workforce. We know that we will be making a difference for the families and the people who are given a chance to support themselves through the proper channels. With the use of COL-ID, we wish to welcome the dreamers, the undocumented immigrants, the refugees, the veterans, and anyone else pushed into the background and provide them with the resources to create the life they deserve.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Once the pilot is successful, motions to verify that COL-ID can be accepted as an official government form of ID will have to be taken. This way, COL-ID can begin expanding towards the other counties of New Jersey and New York, specifically targeting higher homeless populated counties. Since a digital ID is unique proof of a person’s identity that can be verified by different organizations through APIs and the underlying bio-metric data is secured by DLT - this ID Verification can be accessed by any organization in any part of the country. This would lead to investments that need to be raised for the biometric testing, as well as making expansion fo COL-ID become a national, and one-day international organization.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
How did you hear about this challenge?