• Identities Research Project

    Final report

    Read the report
  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 7

    Our hypothesis throughout this project is that research reports presented as locked PDFs are increasingly either not read or not acted on. Therefore, within the episodic nature of the way we’ve presented the research (whilst it was still happening) and as we’ve consciously avoided the large conference circuit and focused instead on small, intimate workshop meetings, we hope we’ve been able to present the final research in the most useful and engaging way possible.

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 6

    With our research, we wanted to especially focus on two questions with regard to gender: do women face different challenges to men in obtaining and formalizing their identity? And secondly, once they do have access to "an identity" — does it empower them in some way to ameliorate unequal gender dynamics? 

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 5

    Some of the most valuable insights from our research have been about vulnerability, privacy and inclusion. Digital identity systems should improve every citizen’s interaction with the state. But they’re not always designed with the needs of every citizen in mind. This episode includes stories about how enrolling can expose vulnerable users to risk, how disabled users can be excluded from digital identity systems, and four insights from our research team on privacy and vulnerability. Finally, our video explores the common myth that poorer communities don’t care about privacy.

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 4

    So far, The Identities Project has been telling the story of the users who rely on identity systems to manage their lives. As well as interviewing users, our research team have been speaking to officials in urban and rural centers who are at the front line of identity systems. They are the people who have to make the technology and policies actually work on the ground.

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 3

    We're doing something very different with the Identities Project. Instead of inviting you all to read the report when it's finished, we are sharing our research as it happens via this website, our newsletter and a series of roundtable events in India, the United States and Sweden.

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 2

    If you're involved in the implementation of a new technology, adoption can seem like a binary issue - people either sign up, or they don't. But the reality is far more complex. In this episode, we're sharing some of the issues and insights about adoption we've learnt from users.

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  • Identities Research Project

    Episode 1

    Changing details on your ID or using it in a transaction can be a bureaucratic and frustrating experience. Our research team has been hearing directly from users about these frustrations, and how they're working together to solve them.

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Welcome to the Identities Research Project

The Identities research project explores user experiences of identity technology, brought to you by Caribou Digital, Omidyar Network and the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIITB).

About the Identities research

The need for user-centered research in “digital identity” arose out of concerns around top-down identity systems and lack of insights on how these are being understood and used, particularly amongst lower income populations.

Identities research methodology

For our user research, our choice of states was determined by both policy and practical considerations. We started our research in Bengaluru and rural Karnataka as our research team is familiar with the area and have the language skills. However, Bengaluru is also a prime site for research, as the second fastest growing metropolis in India, and highest number of educated immigrants.

Reporting Back

Over seven episodes, we will share articles, essays, videos and insights from our research, and we’ll ask you to join the conversation by sharing your own thoughts, needs and insights.

Get in touch

If you are an expert in this sector, we’d really like to hear about what themes and issues are important to you. So please send me an email to tell me what’s important to you, and let me and the team know if we’re missing issues or themes that you’d like surfaced in this area of research.

Chris Locke, Founder, Caribou Digital

Identities - New Practices in a Connected Age

What do we know about those who use identity systems?

What are the experiences, challenges and stories, particularly of those in lower income populations?

Read more on our Identities Research

Meet the research team


Each episode we will feature an interview with each of the team to gain understandings and insights from the ongoing Identities research.

From left: Harish BoyaSurpriya DeySarita Seshagiri and Janaki Srinivasan International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, and Savita Bailur Caribou Digital

Meet the research team