AAU logo

PhD Theses

PhD theses from CMI

A Case for Citizen Centric National Identity Management Systems: Crafting a Trusted National Identity Management Policy



Commercial transactions and social interactions increasingly rely on effective exchange of personal identity information, which has become an integral part of modern business models. However, the use of personal information raises societal concerns about security and privacy, as well as the level of trust in transacting parties. Policy makers are therefore trying to implement identity policies to prevent identity abuses, promote the seamless flow of business transactions, and provide citizens the ability to exercise informational self-determination.

Previously, the design of identity management systems (IdMS) has largely focused on the stringent security requirements rather than the needs of the citizens, and there is a need for designing and developing systems that are user-centric and privacy enhancing. Many of the proposed solutions implicitly assume easy Internet access, user awareness and exposure, and a high level of literacy. But in developing countries infrastructural challenges, low literacy level, and physical verification of credentials hamper the effective use of identity management systems.

This PhD study adapts the DeLone and McLean model of information systems success to the case of national IdMS, using a qualitative case study research approach. Empirical data were gathered in Ghana through a combination of quasi-statistical survey and problem structuring methodology. The study shows that effective IdMS depend on efficient civil registration systems, user involvement and institutional cooperation. Policy makers must ensure the attainment of a sufficient level of trust, where privacy concern is low and trust is high enough to encourage institutional cooperation and support secondary uses of personal information. The study contributes to the identity management literature by enriching our current understanding of the key factors that affect successful implementation of national identity management systems, and also provides guidelines for developers and policy makers for establishing a trusted identity ecosystem.


Date of defense: 20.03.2013


PhD theses