Jamaica – ID verification to become simpler — developers

By | July 2, 2017

The rigmarole of identity verification should be simplified when the National Identification System (NIDS) is implemented. This is the belief of developers who said that the system will decrease the number of items needed when conducting business.

Over time, the system is expected to replace the list of identity implements used currently.

“What is being proposed is for us to have one ID, one number to access all government services, so we’re implementing a tool to access all the needs in the private sector and public sector. As it is now, all of these ministry, agencies and departments already have various numbers,” NIDS Programme Director Warren Vernon stated in a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“We expect that during the adoption process, over the years to come, that some of these things will be streamlined for us to achieve where you have one card and that card has the capability to be used to access multiple services or used to assert that you are authorised to do a number of things,” he continued. “So when you look at the card and the way we envisage this working, you have your ID and at the back of your ID it could very well be all the services, you’re authorised to access, or all the services that you’re authorised to offer,” he stated.

Chief Technical Director for the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division in the Office of the Prime Minister, Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, pointed out that NIDS is to address Jamaica’s current problem of not having a secure identification system.

“The licence is a licence to drive, the TRN is a tax registration number, NIS is for your pension, PATH also has a number, NHT has a number that’s for their mortgage benefits and so on, NHF has a number, everybody has a number but…none of them have biometric information attached apart from EOJ, [which] has biometrics attached to the card; however, they do not offer a verification service.”

“Those IDs that we refer to as national IDs are really not; they are voters IDs. We do not now have a robust secure identification system in Jamaica. We have a lot of cards that we use for identification, but we don’t have a national system. It’s not trusted, it’s not rigorous, and that is why if you notice when you go to the bank, they ask you for like three because they have to be double checking if the passport has the same name as the TRN, has the same name as your driver’s licence if you have one, if you don’t drive, then the voters ID and they double checking, and if anything is off you have to go prove your address,” she stated.

 “So eventually when I get my NIN (National Identification Number) and my card, I will go to NIS, I can do my business with giving them my NIN and my card and they will punch in my NIN, and my information will be brought up. They may still see my NIS number somewhere in there, but I don’t need to carry it with me and I don’t need to remember it,” she hypothesised.

This solution, Vernon explained, is called a unified card, wherein after the adoption process “you’ll end up with one card to do everything”. He noted that contrary to the belief that it’s a waste in government, the NIDS will eventually enhance the Government’s efficiency.

Enrolment for NIDS will begin in September 2018, provided the National Identification and Registration Act is passed.

The NIDS will capture biometric data and become the main source for identity verification and authentication.

The technocrats anticipate that the system will enhance the Government’s efficiency in managing social, economic and security programmes.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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