Parliament Approves Digital ID Resolution

Apr 3 , 2023

Parliamentarians approved the proposed bill to issue Digital Identity Cards with a majority voting for and one abstention. While the idea has been floated for a few years, the standing committee on Legal, Justice and Democracy Affairs chaired by Estegenet Mengistu put it before Parliament this week. MPs suggested that issuing an identification card outside of the new legal framework should be treated as treason. Regulation by the Council of Ministers in April of last year was signed to execute the formation of a national digital identification commission. The commissioner is appointed by the Prime Minister and is tasked with oversight and coordination of offices within the regional states. The regulation stipulates that the commission is entitled to disseminate statistical information to different "bodies" without revealing personal information. Digital IDs are part of the 17 SDG goals adopted at the 2015 UN leaders' summits to issue a legal identity to every person by 2030. Large-scale government-issued national IDs are expected to utilize algorithms and biometric data to match stored credentials with people. A report published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in September 2022 indicated that a concomitant rise in state surveillance should be heeded with the expansion of digital IDs and smart city projects.


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