Ok, let’s break it down, item by item (I have left a comment beneath each bold highlighted item):
Digital: Mobile, but also accessible offline for areas lacking connectivity.
> Good (includes the possibility of loss of or lack of network connectivity).
Legally Recognized: A birth registration record or national ID, recognized by state.
> Good (this would seem to be the fundamental criterium/requirement for an ID, but note that the type of said ‘legally recognized’ ID may change from State to State, as refugees are moved, sometimes to other countries.
Accessible: Must be easy to access, and difficult to lose.
> Good (more than one ‘access path’ would be preferable, in my opinion, including one that is not ‘high tech’ but ‘prior tech’, like access via fax machines or a video phone line; even ‘low tech’ like use of official couriers).
Secure: Must ensure the security of ID and personal data.
> Good (but see my final notes, below, under ‘Decentralized’. This may prove to be a key/determining factor in any qualifying solution).
Other additional criteria for the identification system:
Biometric-based: May be applicable for national IDs, but difficult to implement for birth registration due to the young age.
> Note that in the US, birth certificates and some baptismal certificates (the forms) have a blocked out area for a baby’s (bare) foot prints (even knowing that the infant will grow fairly rapidly; it serves to ID the infant up to a certain age (and there are key patterns/markers that do not change much over time). On that note, there could be an ‘auto update’ function through a mobile app (or via existing platforms like instagram or dropbox) that works through the phone’s camera (e.g., the app scans/captures an image of the (now older) child’s ear (one’s ear shape being a unique biometric) which then updates the child’s ID via a cloud-based repository of refugee biometric data.
Interoperable/Integrated: Ability for other systems to add data to the digital ID. For example: proving vaccination records or education attainment.
> This follows from my previous note (about updating biometrics). Also: the first example above (vaccination records) is quite valuable, the second example (education level), though useful, could be problematic (e.g. it could lead to work/labor assignments that are not suitable, or, cause a older child to miss out on other work options for which a child has aptitude but no formal schooling, etc. We must avoid the ‘Scarlet Letter Effect’)
Decentralized: Helps with security aspect.
> Certainly, the more decentralized the ID system is – in terms of a contributing network of registration platforms/sources – the more it can be verified and authenticated by diverse (and independent) groups or orgs. This arrangement, in theory, keeps everyone honest and can be a means of preventing, or intervening in, human trafficking. However, the are at least two issues of concern:
1] Decentralizing can also mean less security (more ‘weak links’, or entry points, in the system)
2] It also follows that the more decentralizing the ID system, the less it (a given child’s ID) can be controlled by a single authority. This ‘freedom’ could cause a problem with getting the host nation to ‘sign on’ to the ID system (i.e., recognize and legally permit its use) due to bureaucratic ‘territoriality’ or even governmental corruption (or collusion with traffickers).