Guyana to launch biometric national ID card, Portugal and Jamaica digital ID plans advance

Guyana to launch biometric national ID card, Portugal and Jamaica digital ID plans advance

Guyana’s government is planning to include biometrics among the security features of a new national ID card for use with all public services, according to Staebroek News.

Options for a new national identification card are being considered ahead of its introduction to replace multiple different forms of identification currently used for services such as NIS pensions, tax payments, social security, immigration status and admission to schools, President David Granger says. The new credential is part of a broader civil registration reform.

“The establishment of the Department of Citizenship was intended to protect the rights of citizenship. Our citizenship policy is to ensure that every Guyanese citizen will be accounted for from birth to death, as far as technologically possible,” Granger stated at a recent event.

The government will also work to decentralize passport issuance to make it easier for people across the country to obtain the travel document.

Granger also spoke about the difficulties associated with providing assistance to a wave of migrants in the country, including 13,000 Venezuelans already in the country.

Support for the Guyanese government’s efforts to register Venezuelans in the country with biometrics to issue stay permits in all regions is the first in a list of six Strategic Response Priorities listed in an RMRP 2020 – Guyana, per ReliefWeb.

The report outlines the several pressing threats to the safety of Venezuelans fleeing the long-deteriorating situation in that country. Trafficking and labor exploitation, access to essential goods and critical services, water and sanitation infrastructure, access to educations, and opportunities for work are among other priorities for protecting the vulnerable population.

More than 35,000 people in the Guyana are expected to require humanitarian assistance in 2020, and the Government of Guyana has introduced a digitalized system for biometric registration and documentation of new arrivals as part of its open-door policy to people from the neighboring nation. Immigration officials issue Household Registration Certificates to new arrivals from Venezuela, which carry with them a renewable three-month permit and a guarantee against forced removal.

Facial recognition to authenticate Portugal’s digital ID

The government of Portugal is planning to launch a biometric facial recognition and liveness-backed digital ID for access to government websites, Portugal Resident writes.

The ‘Chave Móvel Digital’ currently uses more traditional code for access control, and has been adopted by an estimated 12 percent of people in the country so far. A public tender for the planned implementation of face biometrics closed in December, and applications are currently being considered by the Agency for Administrative Modernization (AMA).

Digital Jamaica coming soon

Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology has developed an eight-point plan to build out the country’s digital services, The Gleaner reports.

At present, only eight percent of government services available in the country can be competed online, according to the report.

Minister Fayval Williams suggests the government will complete its digitization project sooner than expected, and the average wait time of 4.3 hours or three different visits to a government office to complete a service will be replaced by processes which are far more efficient.

An Inter-American Development Bank study recently found that three or more visits to a government office are necessary to complete 45 percent of government service transactions.

“Why is that? Most of these services that we cannot offer in a digital realm result from the fact that there are a lot of cases where we are required to show up in person to proof of identity,” Williams responded.

The use of public key infrastructure is expected to be completed in the next seven to eight months, easing issuance of biometric passports, digital ID cards, and the authentication of digital signatures.

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