Self-sovereign Identities for Fighting the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Whereas part of the world can benefit from the wonders of digital technologies, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers,and refugees are facing the rough reality of being “invisible” in society and ignored by governments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic impact of the closure of the service industry and the impossibility to keep most of the informal work they perform place them into a limbo without income and unemployment benefits. They are denied formal support because of the lack of a legally recognized identity. For this type of humanitarian support, contemporary identities can offer a way out. Self-sovereign identities (SSI) can provide individuals ownership over their data and the ability to share this with others. The essence is that the owner determines whom they share their identity data with. They have the sole ownership of the identity data. As such, an SSI ensures privacy for undocumented persons. This would allow to provide support to those who are left behind by a lack of formal identity. In this article, we explore the possibility of SSI to assist undocumented individuals throughout the pandemic times. SSI can be used to interact with undocumented workers and to share all kinds of identity data, such as sharing the attestation of COVID-19 tests or the ability to donate money to those who are illegal without sacrificing their identity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)16:1-16:4
Number of pages4
JournalDigital Government: Research and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • blockchain
  • COVID 19
  • self-sovereign identity
  • privacy
  • undocumented persons


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