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Digital ID card with high security features to shield against fraud

…as Bill presented to National Assembly

Prime Minister Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips on Thursday presented the Digital Identity Card Bill to the National Assembly in a major endeavour by the Government to consolidate the biometric data of each citizen into one card.
The bill intituled an Act to provide for the establishment of a Digital Identity Card Registry for the collection of identity data for citizens fourteen years and over; and non-citizens, including skilled nationals of a Caribbean Community State. Data will be collected to facilitate electronic governance and to enhance government and other service-related matters.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips presenting the Digital Identity Card Bill on Thursday

It will also allow for issuance of digital ID cards and a Non-Citizen Digital Identity Card.
The Registry will be administered by the Data Protection Commissioner, who may establish in every region of Guyana one or more regional or mobile centres as deemed necessary for data collection and card distribution.
According to the Bill, “A Digital Identity Card shall be an official document, sufficient and necessary to lawfully identify the person in doing business with a public body or private entity, whether in person or online.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police and Chief Medical Officer have been tasked with sending to the Data Protection Commissioner every four months a list of all persons whose deaths have been recorded. This will empower the Commissioner to cancel the data of any such person from the databases.
Data which will be entered into the new identification card includes a person’s name, date and place of birth, photo or facial image satisfying the requirements for a photograph, unique identification number, sex, citizenship, fingerprints, and signature. In the case of a non-citizens, a number for the application of work permit and any other data that the Commissioner may prescribe will have to be provided.
“The Citizen Digital Identity Card and Non-Citizen Digital Identity Card shall be made with high security materials and elements that offer durability, reliability, and exclude any possible alteration, so that they cannot be the object of any fraud and consequently guarantee the identity of the holders of the cards,” the new framework outlines.
The design of the new cards will take into account relevant international standards, including those of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Meanwhile, the Bill speaks to offences. If a person knowingly submits data at more than one registry for more than one card, uses falsified or altered card, or has in his/her possession a digital identity card which is known to be falsified or altered, they are committing an offence. Also, if false data is provided for obtaining, renewing or replacing a digital identity card, that person is committing an offence. Fraudulently obtaining or using a digital identity card is also an offence. Any person found culpable is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $5 million and imprisonment for five years.
In March, the Guyana Government signed a US$35.4 million contract with German-based company Veridos Identity Solutions to implement the Single Electronic Identification System here. It would see new e-cards being issued to Guyanese for the conduct of a wide array of transactions as well as to monitor the issuance of work permits in the country.
In October 2021, Guyana had reached out to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government for assistance in introducing the electronic identification card. With the intervention of His Highness Sheikh Juma bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, two international companies were shortlisted.
Veridos, a global leading provider of integrated identity solutions, was subsequently selected after making a presentation to the Guyana Government. It was explained that the evaluators found that the partially-owned German Government company presented the best solution for Guyana. (G12)