Fri | Sep 21, 2018

NIDS: dumb and dangerous

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AM


The Government of Jamaica has decided to pass legislation that will make it mandatory for everyone to have a biometric form of identification over which the State will be custodians. If you do not comply with this law, you will face a conviction and a fine of up to J$100,000.

Now, how is the financially strapped Government going to pay for this? It will be funded through 20 per cent of a US$68m Inter-American Development Bank loan.

Why is there need for this biometric card? What is the economic benefit to the Jamaican people? And out of all the problems facing Jamaica at this time, why is NIDS so important? Is this something the Jamaican people asked for? Or is it that they simply don't have a voice in the matter? Isn't the Government elected to represent the people of Jamaica?

I am sure that if you enter the constituency of every single member of parliament, you will see far more pressing ills and urgent needs of the people than NIDS. Yet, they will be the ones who will be penalised for up to J$100,000 for an identity card they didn't ask for, but was imposed on them.

Which brings me to why this is dangerous. All the major developed nations are struggling with cybersecurity. Many spend billions of dollars to safeguard themselves from hackers, and they are finding it a difficult task. It's either naive, or downright misleading, for the Jamaican Government to suggest that it can fully secure the population's biometric data.

Therefore, why put the entire nation at risk? To what end?


London, England