Safeguarding privacyTuesday, June 15, 2021
Maintaining the confidentiality of information is crucial when dealing with the identity information of individuals. For too long we have seen where people can gain unauthorised access to citizens' data resulting in their identity being stolen.
Studies have shown that there are frequent incidents of privacy breaches involving documents such as the tax registration number (TRN), the passport, and the birth certificate and the related agencies have been battling with the issue of securing the information of citizens and residents. It is no secret that the current system is urgently in need of an upgrade and, with the Government's plan to implement the national identification system (NIDS), safeguarding the privacy of those enrolled must be at the forefront of such a policy.
The Government referred to securely storing citizens' information by storing the biometric and biographic data on separate databases and having a statutory body in place to ensure the validity of the system. I must also commend the plans of our Government to ensure that people employed at the various related agencies will be properly vetted to minimise corruption within these agencies. This is a great step taken by our Government to ensure the security of the system. Also, while it will be difficult to maintain a system that is fully secured, the new NIDS will be a great improvement to the current system. Digitising the database may lead to the risk of the database being accessed by hackers; however, citizens will be alerted whenever their data is accessed, and the same cannot be said about the current system which involves a lot of manual processes. Having a system in which information is stored manually makes it easier for people without the proper authorisation to disclose personal information of citizens and residents, and as such I welcome the proposed changes under the NIDS, in which only authorised personnel will be able to access the system and data users will be accountable to owners of the relevant data.
Additionally, NIDS will offer a more secure and reliable means of identity verification and authentication which will improve business processes, positively impacting the ease and convenience in which business is conducted daily. No longer will people be required to provide two or more documents for certain transactions, such as being eligible to become a bank account owner. Oftentimes citizens are unable to obtain these required documents for various reasons. I concur that achieving these objectives will require a collaborative effort from all the stakeholders, and I do hope we can unite as a nation, as I am enthusiastic about the benefits of this system and the positive effect it will have on our country.
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