Full roll-out of National ID System now set for 2020Thursday, July 09, 2015
BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS Senior staff reporter email@example.com
THE country should see a full roll-out of the National Identification System (NIDS) for Jamaicans and other persons who reside in the island by 2020, some nine years after the idea was proposed.
Permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller, told yesterday's sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament that by November of this year the framework for NIDS will be ready.
"Yes, the project has taken some time [but] now it is at a stage where we have clear activities completed, where we have a design (and) the costing; we have sketched out a roadmap to 2020, indicating what are the different components, so we are actually further ahead now, with clear specifics," Miller explained, as some parliamentarians questioned the length of time it has taken to implement the system.
She told the House committee, however, that by the third quarter of this year newborns will be issued with a National Identification Number (NIN).
Government member, Mikhail Phillips raised the question of the taxpayer registration number (TRN) and other current methods of identification, and how these would be integrated into the new system.
In response, Allison McLean, a director in the Office of the Prime Minister, which is implementing NIDS, said the idea is to "create a platform which has levels of connectivity and is a two-way process. So it's not that we are going to be using their (other identification platforms) data to create a national identification system. The system will capture its own unique data set, but what will happen is that you will be able to cross-match (identifications)".
Still, it was not clear the extent to which the preparatory work for the system has tapped into the various databases that are already available through sources such as the Ministry of Education, Tax Administration of Jamaica, and the Planning Institute of Jamaica to prevent a duplication of efforts.
Miller explained that the primary data set that will be used in the first instance is the Registrar General Department's civil registry, noting that the
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary said security is at the core of the system, and that part of the plan is to consult with an expert in identification systems.
"Identity theft and cybercrime is an issue that we are paying close attention to. Security is a central part of our planning and there is a considerable amount of vetting that is also part of the reason why biometrics is something that we are looking at very carefully. We haven't taken a decision on which features specifically yet, but biometrics is an important part of the security of the system," she stated.
She said that although multiple entities will have access to the NIDS, not all of these will have access to all the data. "They will have access at different levels, and even within the type of data you can look at, there will be classification as to how much of it, you can see. That's a very important part of the design of the system," she explained.
The Government has allocated $24.9 million in this year's national budget for the continuation of the project.