According to reports on the Chinese government’s official web portal, gov.cn, the Chan Cheng District in Foshan City is ground-zero for a blockchain trial designed to test the technology’s usefulness for streamlining public services. The District, located in Guangdong province, will be testing an innovative platform that the Chinese are calling Intelligent Multifunctional Identity (IMI). The system will reportedly provide a more efficient way for residents to authenticate their identities and official information without filling out forms each time they need a new government service.
The district is home to some one million of the city’s 7.19 million citizens, and the streamlined authentication process is seen as a way to dramatically improve the current administrative workflow. Residents in Chan Cheng District currently access government services like healthcare, utilities, and pensions at a central hub in Foshan. That hub requires each person’s physical presence, which creates massive administrative congestion.
The IMI platform is intended to alleviate those concerns and eliminate much of the paperwork required in the past. Residents will simply register using the IMI platform, which will then authenticate their identities. At that point, the government has promised that those residents will maintain control over all their personal information, and give different authorities access to those details as they opt for various types of services.
The trial in Chan Cheng District is part of a larger Chinese effort to “build a new smart city and a new credit system.” The emphasis on providing citizens with more security for personal information comes on the heels of a 2016 China Internet Association report that found that 84% of Chinese internet users feared unauthorized leaks of their personal information.