NIDS good or bad?
Last week, a number of things highlighted the news in Jamaica, the chief of which, in my humble view, was the National Identification System Bill (NIDS).
Essentially, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is proposing a system whereby each person has a special identification number which has to be used for transactions and other things.
This involves providing biometric data, things such as fingerprints, retina scan, footprint, toe print, palm prints and blood types.
Two ideas behind this piece of legislation is that it would help to reduce crime and violence and improve tax collection.
NIDS sound good pon de face of it, but ah nuff people and organisations have concerns including the Jamaican Bar Association and Jamaicans For Justice.
Di main worry seems to be that there is a requirement for mandatory enrolment. Failure to do this can attract serious punishment including the denial of access to vital services including medical treatment and heavy fines.
Ah weh oonu tink? NIDS caan wuk if it nuh mandatory? But seriously is NIDS really necessary? Whappen to TRN and dem tings deh?
Nuff people, including rastas, seh dat ah slavery days ah cum back when people have dem own number, or down a South Africa during apartheid and some people all a seh it come in like the mark a di beast!
People seh dat big countries abroad like England and the US nuh have dis den why Jamaica haffi tek it on?
Plus people worry dat dem information aggo fall inna di wrong hands and can be abused once the digital/electronic system is compromised.
Computer hacking and corruption are very prevalent and such detailed and personal information may not belong in a database where smaddy can tamper wid it.
It is also being said that Jamaica needs serious financial support and this will not come if the legislation is not passed. This has prompted talk that we are selling out ourselves - again!
The GOJ and supporters of the proposed law have said that law abiding people have nothing to hide. That might be true but what happen to peoples constitutional right to privacy?
Supporters also say this will improve Jamaica's image and bring our economy into the digital age with chances to accomplish the '5 in 4' growth target.
Mi seh de ting so important to de Government, dat dem put on di agony pon di Opposition and have de Senate ah meet fi houuurrrsss waaaay dung inna de night.
Mi naw lie, ah so mi waaan fi si mi Government ah wuk fi di people!
The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives with more than 100 amendments and by the Senate with 168 changes. It is not yet law, as it has to return to the House and then, subject to what happens there, will have to be signed into law by the governor general and then gazetted.
Wooee yooeeeiiii - what ah hataclaps buss inna yah! Mi caan wait fi see way aggo happen. LALALALALALALALA!!