Moroccan Digital Identity: Expanding Accessibility - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

Approximately 1 billion people around the world do not have a form of identification, and according to an article on ID4Africa, “African residents [comprise] more than half of that number”. This means that African residents without proper forms of identification cannot open bank accounts or work official jobs. In essence, they are unable to enjoy basic social and economic rights. 

In the kingdom of Morocco, a lack of digital identification paired with the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth and innovation of digital technologies; however, there has also been growing concern over the expansion of digital technologies as some say the government is harming Moroccan citizens and violating their basic human rights. Vaccine passports, Covid-19 tracing technologies, and facial recognition systems have been at the forefront of innovation and controversy. 

While the debate on the various benefits and harms of such innovation continues, the government of Morocco has taken another initiative to implement a new way of digital identification: the National Electronic Identity Card (CNIE).

Morocco’s Newest Technology: Digital Identity Cards

In April of 2022, the kingdom of Morocco presented and launched its first digital identification system in Rabat. Behind the whole process are two organizations: the Digital Development Agency (ADD) and the Directorate of National Security (DGSN). 

The Moroccan digital identity cards are called National Electronic Identity Cards (CNIE), and they allow holders to prove their identity as a Moroccan citizen. As stated in the Moroccan World News Report, “Moroccans can use their CNIEs as proof of identity for different places. They can physically present their electronic identity card to agents of authorized institutions by the DGSN to scan it and prove the holder’s identity.”  Users can also access these features from home, according to the same article. Moroccans can scan their CNIE using an NFC reader connected to their PC or smartphone.

Additionally, users are given the option to input extra layers of identification to their profile such as facial recognition and biometric fingerprint scans. 

How does Morocco’s Digital Identity Cards work?

The government of Morocco has opted to work with third-party platforms in order to organize and implement the digital ID system. Specifically, the state works with Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP) in order to develop the platform and with IDEMIA as “a biometric solution provider.” While a user’s information is shared with these third-party platforms, the DGSN assures that the network along with all of its data is completely secure. 

In a Livecast hosted by ID4Africa, Dr. Omar El Alami of Morocco’s Ministry of Interior dove into detail about the new system: “The National Population Registry’s role is to provide unique registration for all individuals including minors and expatriates where we collect their demographic and biometric data. This registry also offers reliable identity authentication services online and in real-time, as well as KYC services. The registry is an interoperable database of registered individuals where each individual has a digital number which is their civil and social identifier. It is reliable because it uses demographic and biometric data.”

Additionally, the security of the network is further bolstered by its multi-factor authentication (MFA), a process in which a user has to confirm their identity twice using verification steps.

CNIE’s full nationwide deployment is projected for the last quarter of 2022, and 9 million citizens are already accessing the card’s services via the official website. Moroccan digital identity cards are one of the many upcoming ventures the Moroccan government will undertake for the country to catch up in a technologically-advancing world.

ABOUT THE WRITER 

Daniel Shin is a contributor to Identity Review from the University of Southern California. Do you have information to share with Identity Review? Email us at press@identityreview.com. Find us on Twitter.


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