The Jamaican government is edging closer towards implementing a national biometric ID. At least, the plan right now is to include biometrics in the National Identification System (NIDS), first proposed in 2011.
Speaking to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee, Office of the Prime Minister permanent secretary Onika Miller said that the government now has “a roadmap to 2020,” the date by which the NIDS should go live. Allison McLean, a director in the OPM, added that the NIDS will be a “platform” resting on “its own unique data set,” but that it will be possible to cross-reference that data set with other identity databases from the country’s education ministry, tax agency, and so on. As for biometrics, that’s an area that the OPM is “looking at very carefully,” Miller said, explaining, “We haven’t taken a decision on which features specifically yet, but biometrics is an important part of the security of the system.”
Despite the seeming distance of the 2020 implementation date, if the Jamaican government does go ahead with making biometric information an important part of the forthcoming National Identification System, it will find itself at the forefront of what could become a major worldwide trend. India is leading the pack with its ambitious Aadhaar project, but other countries are already following suit, and even the United Nations is pursuing such systems in its refugee agency‘s efforts to find a secure and consistent means of identification for the vulnerable populations it oversees.
Source: Jamaica Observer
July 9, 2015 – by Alex Perala