Accenture, with partners Microsoft and Avanade, has created a prototype identity management system in support of the ID2020 campaign. The prototype system was created using the principles of the distributed ledger architecture, combining the existing Accenture identity platform with the Azure cloud network.

The companies demonstrated the prototype at this week’s ID2020 Summit at the United Nations.

The prototype was created using the Accenture Unique Identity Service Platform (UISP), a biometric identity management application currently used for fraud protection. The prototype developed by Accenture, Microsoft and Avanade builds upon the UISP, but integrates with existing identity systems while keeping personally identifiable information protected, residing ‘off chain.’

The UISP uses biometric data including fingerprint, iris, and other identifiers to securely link a person with their digital identity. It is currently available for on-site or cloud ‘biometrics-as-a-service’ deployment.

The prototype platform presented to the UN at the ID2020 Summit runs on Microsoft Azure, leveraging the tech giant’s global reach for peak flexibility, scalability and security.

The ID2020 Alliance was created to address the need for a unique digital identity as a basic human right. Without an officially recognized identity, people may be unable to access necessary services such as healthcare, education, and social assistance. They may be denied the right to vote, and other aspects of citizenship to which they are entitled. A lack of a provable identity recognized in official channels is a huge problem faced by a growing number of refugees and undocumented persons worldwide.

Accenture and Microsoft are both founding members of the ID2020 Alliance and have pledged financial and technological support to the program.

‘People without a documented identity suffer by being excluded from modern society,’ said David Treat, a managing director in Accenture’s global blockchain business. “Our prototype is personal, private and portable, empowering individuals to access and share appropriate information when convenient and without the worry of using or losing paper documentation.”

The UISP is currently in use in the UN’s Biometric Identity Management program, which has enrolled more than 1.3 million refugees and which is expected to provide proof of identity for more than 7 million refugees by 2020.

The new prototype system is compliant with the guidelines set forth by the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), an open source group seeking to use blockchain to solve the global identity issue. Microsoft is a founding member of the DIF. The system uses the permissioned blockchain protocol supported by the Enterprise Etherium Alliance.

The system was developed at the Irish Accenture R&D hub known as the Dock.