Infrastructure to facilitate production of digital birth certificates 90% complete

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Infrastructure to facilitate production of digital birth certificates 90% complete

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - The implementation of infrastructure that will facilitate the production of digital birth certificates for Jamaicans is now 90 per cent complete.

This was disclosed by Programme Director for the National Identification System (NIDS), Warren Vernon, who said the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI) project is expected to be completed by March, following the conclusion of certain processes.

“There is some public registration that we need to do. We have to certify it, we have to get those NPKI auditors in and there is a process to go through,” he said.

Vernon was responding to questions posed by member of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament on NIDS legislation, Julian Robinson, during its meeting on Tuesday.

He said that with the NPKI in place, it is also expected that by March, “we'll also be in a position to launch phase one of the project, which is to allow the public to go online, request a copy of your birth certificate, a digital copy which you take anywhere in the world and they can verify it [and] tie it back to the security framework for the NPKI”.

The NPKI is part of the non-NIDS aspect of the Government's impending NIDS programme, which seeks to create a unique, reliable and secure way of verifying an individual's identity.

The NPKI project aims to make Jamaica a more digital society in which there is ubiquitous use of information and information and communications technology (ICT) in all spheres, such as home, work, school and recreation.

This project will enable trusted electronic identities for people, services and things, and make it possible to implement strong authentication, data encryption and digital signatures, based on a certifying authority.

“We are doing work also with the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) to get them ready for [rolling out the] e-passport. We are doing a lot of upgrades -- looking at processes and optimising those processes -- right across government because it is important for us to prepare government for the adoption of NIDS,” he said.

He noted that the NIDS team is also currently working with Tax Administration Jamaica, the Registrar General's Department (RGD), Jamaica Post, e-Gov, and a number of other government entities, including the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information to digitise their services.

“[We are looking at their] business processes [to see] how we can eliminate the bureaucratic processes to transform those processes into a digital way,” he said.
Providing further updates on the NIDS implementation, Vernon said the team has defined all of the business processes for the NIDS programme, defined all the requirements for the system and also for the national identification card.

“We are at a stage now where we are waiting on the legislative framework so that… any new recommendations that will come out of this process, we can tweak. But if we are able to get the legal framework in place by let's say April/May, we should be in position by September 2021 to personalise or to create the first national identification card,” he said, adding that the plan is to then start piloting the programme.

In December last year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness tabled the National Identification and Registration Act, 2020, which makes provisions for a voluntary and secure National Identification System for Jamaica.


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