JFJ wants widespread consultation on new national ID system

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


HUMAN rights lobby group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is calling for widespread consultations to be held for the redrafting of the National Identification System (NIDS) Bill, which was struck down by the Constitutional Court last Friday.

JFJ said neither the Government nor the Opposition should interpret the ruling as a victory or a loss, but rather as an opportunity for the Government to redraft the legislation to comply with the constitution.

The group is recommending that a Joint Select Committee (JSC) of Parliament be set up to facilitate substantive input from all stakeholders.

JFJ is also urging the legislature to pass the regulations in tandem with the Act in order to ensure clarity, cohesion and fluidity. “JFJ participated in the drafting processes for both NIRA (National Identification and Registration Authority) and its regulations, and gained an appreciation of the obstacles faced with completing both processes independent of each other,” the group stated. It promised to continue offering assistance in the drafting process as, “We firmly believe that an inclusive and consultative process, bolstered by a supportive legal framework, will result in a robust and constitutionally compliant Act”.

At the same time, the rights group has called for the Government to prioritise the finalisation of the Data Protection Act, which was posited as a precursor to the now nullified NIDS Bill.

“NIDS will continue to face scrutiny until a data protection law is in effect,” said the JFJ.

The Data Protection Bill was referred to a Joint Select Committee for deliberations, but has been stalled for the past year. The committee had been chaired by former technology minister Dr Andrew Wheatley, who resigned from office in July.

The lobby group says it is of utmost importance that a strong legal framework for the protection of personal data be put in place before implementing any version of NIDS.

The Opposition has also called for the Joint Select Committee on the Data Protection Act to resume its sittings.

Speaking with the Observer shortly after the ruling last Friday, Opposition spokesman on technology Julian Robinson said: “One of the reasons we insisted, when Wheatley was removed, was to have a full-time minister as there were critical pieces of legislation that needed attention. Even now with another new minister, there has been no indication about when the Joint Select Committee will reconvene. It is nothing short of scandalous that something as important as NIDS, which was predicated on data protection, and data protection has just been languishing in Parliament,” he stated.

Government has touted a strong data protection legislative framework as one of the keys to crime fighting, as illegal access to and manipulation of data is an area of concern both internationally and locally.

At the American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica's inaugural regional data security conference held in Kingston last September Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said data security was key to successful enterprises across all sectors.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT