Only information that is directly related to establishing legal identity should be mandatory for enrollment
To register for NIDS, people should only have to provide the very basic personal data and information that is necessary to ensure accurate identification. Anything beyond that should be optional and clearly marked as such. The chief purpose of the NIDS system is to expand access to reliable legal identification among Jamaicans. Enrollment should therefore be as easy and inclusive as possible and not be unduly intrusive.
These are examples of what the NIDS Bill allows. These examples may not necessarily reflect the intention of the Bill, but are possible based on how the Bill was worded when it was tabled in 2020.
When enrolling in NIDS, the authority is legally empowered to require a whole range of personal information and data, including marital status and name of spouse if applicable, any places of residence, and occupation. If a person leaves out information falling into any of these categories, it could be deemed as “Misleading” the Authority, which may result in them not being enrolled or even fined - even if that information is not needed to establish who they are. The main purpose of NIDS, however, is to ensure that more people across Jamaica have access to documentation they can use for identification purposes. Some currently struggle with access to such documentation, and to ensure a broad uptake, registration for NIDS should be made simple and straightforward. People who fear that their own personal situation or their inability to define certain information would make registration difficult or those who may simply not want to give that information not to register for NIDS at all. They will lose access to privileges and services provided through NIDS. Yet, information, such as who a person’s spouse is and what that spouse’s name is, is not needed to identify any particular individual (not least because unmarried people will not have to provide this information and can still be identified). NIDS should mandate only the information absolutely necessary on enrollment and clearly mark any additional information as purely optional.
Watch this space! We will provide an update once the Joint Select Committee has made a decision on this issue.
Last updated 2021-05-27
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