NIDS Bill: The Virtual Town Hall Conversation Continues

The conversation on the National Identification System (NIDS) Bill continued yesterday, January 20, 2021. The public and members of the NIDS’s Joint Select Committee (JSC) weighed in questions to the presenters.

One question proposed by a member of the public was what is the plan for Jamaica’s homeless population. Programme Director of NIDS, Warren Vernon assured that the team was working to address this concern.

“We know that even though you may be homeless, you do have places where you frequent… [but] addresses will not be printed on the card and it is for this very reason, this data is dynamic and will change because you can be homeless today and in a couple of week’s time you may not be. The intent here is to ensure no one is left behind,” Vernon said.

In the meantime, Vernon addressed the benefits one can gain from using the NIDS. He says it may eliminate the need for life certificates and will benefit the market such as insurance companies and government agencies. To add, he says it will make the process of opening bank accounts simpler.

Additionally, the team also assured that all data will be stored in a secured Government facility in Jamaica, as expressed by Clause 11 of the NIDS Bill. And, a person’s sensitive information will be encrypted and protected. However, there are instances in which an individual’s identity information can be accessed. So, as expressed by Clause 24 of the NIDS Bill, an individual’s information can be accessed: in accordance with the request of the individual concerned and/ or in accordance with an order of a Judge and as may be otherwise provided by the NIDS Act or any other law.

Discussion on the NIDS Bill will continue in the next NIDS Town Hall Meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday 27.