1. What is NIDS?
NIDS stands for National Identification System. It is a system that will be used to digitally register ALL Jamaicans. The plan is to use the information gathered from NIDS to establish a database of Jamaican citizens and other individuals ordinarily resident in Jamaica. According to the Government of Jamaica’s website, NIDS is: “is a unique, reliable and secure way of verifying an individual’s identity.”
2. How will NIDS work?
By assigning to each person a National Identification Number (NIN) that they can use as a primary source of identity assurance and verification. In addition, NIDS will facilitate the issuance of a National Identification Card (NIC). According to the official NIDS website, the National Identification Card (NIC) will be required for all persons registered under NIDS. The NIC is “a unique card issued to a registered individual and verified individual. The NIC includes your NIN, photo, address, manual signature and match on cards applications to support authentication online.”
3. Who will have to use NIDS?
- Any individual who is a citizen of Jamaica
- Permanent lawful residents of Jamaica
- Temporary residents of Jamaica lawfully residing in Jamaica for a period of six months or more
4. What information will NIDS require from you?
5. When will it be rolled out?
6. Why use NIDS? What’s wrong with what we have now?
According to the Government, as things stand now, Jamaica does not have a central national database. Different systems use different numbers for different purposes, and there is no way – right now – of easily and quickly finding out when a person is assuming m,ore than one identities (which is a crime). As things stand, it is also difficult for all of these different agencies to share information with each other, so NIDS is the proposed solution that will ensure that all of the information is in one secure place and readily available to all agencies.
According to the Government’s website, this should:
- enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Government agencies, and the management and delivery of Government services to the public;
- enhance Government’s ability to ascertain compliance with critical obligations (like tax compliance);
- strengthen immigration, border control management, public safety and national security;
- reduce the need to register for each benefit and/or obligation;
- eliminate the duplication of individuals in public sector databases;
- assist in the fight against crime by providing the relevant authorities access to a secure database which captures civil and biometric data of citizens and residents in Jamaica; and
- minimize the capacity for an individual to assume multiple identities (to do illegal things like fraud, scamming, money laundering).
7. How will NIDS affect how you do business?
A Gleaner article ‘No ID, No Access’ has made it clear that under NIDS, Jamaicans without a National Identification Card (NIC) will not be able to do business with government agencies. Additionally, persons without the national ID might also face serious challenges as they seek to do business with the private sector.