Senate approves five regulations to facilitate NIDS rollout Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Senate has approved five National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) Regulations, which will facilitate the rollout of the national identification system (NIDS).

Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information, Skills and Digital Transformation, Senator Dr Dana Morris Dixon, piloted the measures through the Upper House on Friday (May 31).

She said that the Regulations, which were reviewed by the NIRA board, involved significant consultation with a variety of representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society groups and the public.

She noted that the measures reflect the significance of data protection in the operations of NIDS.

“The personal data of enrolled individuals and past enrolees must be protected with confidentiality and security. These regulations were not only informed by the Data Protection Act of Jamaica, but by several jurisdictions where national identification systems have been introduced and where data protection is recognised as essential,” Senator Morris Dixon said.

Providing details about the regulatory measures, she said the National Identification and Registration Regulations, 2024 detail how an application may be made to NIRA for enrolment to get a national ID, how the identity information should be processed and the special provisions needed to facilitate enrolment by individuals with a disability.

In addition, the National Identification and Registration Information Security Regulations 2024, address actions to be taken by NIRA in implementing controls to harden the security and privacy controls for personal information, while the National Identification and Registration (Assignment of National Identification Numbers) Regulations, 2024, cover the operational framework for the assignment and verification of registration numbers for enrolment.

The final two measures are the National Identification and Registration Appeals Tribunal Regulations, which outline the provisions for an independent appeals tribunal, and the National Identification and Registration (Identity Services) Regulations, which cover the framework under which the NIRA may administer authentication and verification services with accredited third parties.

Meanwhile, the Electronic Transactions Act National Identification and Registration (Electronic Forms) Regulations, 2024 and the Revenue Administration (Assignment of Registration Numbers for Enrolment Under the National Identification and Registration Act), Regulations, 2024, were tabled for information purposes only.

Dr. Morris Dixon explained that the Electronic Forms Regulations will facilitate the use of prescribed forms in digital format. This ensures that electronic forms will be recognised to be substantively the same as the prescribed forms, have the same effect as the prescribed forms that have been submitted and otherwise utilised electronically.”

As it relates to the Revenue Administration (Assignment of Registration Numbers for Enrolment Under the National Identification and Registration Act), Regulations, Dr. Morris Dixon said they “outline the role of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) in assigning registration numbers to persons seeking to enrol in NIDS who do not have a registration number issued by TAJ.”

The Minister said the regulation outlines the interactions between NIRA and TAJ to facilitate this process, including the identity information to be provided to TAJ to allow that entity to do its own verification, to ensure that a person is only assigned one registration number, which is identical to his or her assigned national identification number.

“So essentially, your Tax Registration Number (TRN) will be your same national identification number,” Senator Morris Dixon said.

She pointed out that TAJ only assigns a registration number for enrolment, noting that “a registration number assigned under these regulations, does not turn the assignee into a taxpayer”.

“In fact, the personal information of such an assignee must be kept in a separate register from taxpayer information. So, the numbers are the same, but your national identification number is not for taxpayer information,” the Minister said.

Senator Morris Dixon said that all these regulations will “go a long way in moving us to the creation of our true national ID.”