During the weekend defimedia.info published an article that raises several questions on the statements of the Minister of Technology, Communication & Innovation. The article mentions that an elderly citizen enrolled for the new identity card in 2014 but her name was incorrectly printed on the card. Now, her grand-daughter is doing the necessary to rectify the same. She asked an officer of the Mauritius National Identity Card unit whether her grand-mother, again, has to come to the office for the procedures? She explained the officer that her grand-mother is unwell. The officer assured the lady that her grand-mother won’t be required to come to the office as they still have her “fingerprints”.

Surprised?

R. Bhadain, when he was Minister of Technology, Communication & Innovation, stated during his press conference on 31 August 2015, that all biometric data recorded for the purpose of the new identity card have been erased.

In a recent press conference, the current Minister of Technology, (Hon) Yogida Sawmynaden stated that fingerprints recorded for the purpose of the new identity card won’t be stored in the MNIC database.

Following the article by defimedia.info, S. Moonesamy wrote to the Data Protection Commissioner sharing his concerns over what was reported. He also questioned the commissioner on data protection principles as the institution appears to pretend both deaf & blind to the privacy concerns of citizens regarding the matter of forced consent.

I, on the other hand, wrote to the Chief Technical Officer of the Minister of Technology, Communication & Innovation to enquire on the supposedly sworn affidavits by people who have attended the “biometric database deletion ceremony” of the MNIC.

Neither S. Moonesamy nor I received a reply today.

Are the methods of the MNIC causing embarrassment?

Later during the day, Emmanuel Blackburn, wrote an article in lemauricien.com on the unethical procedures of collecting fingerprints of the citizens of Mauritius by having their implicit consent. The article mentions a conversation between a fellow and an officer of the MNIC whereby the officer appears to be embarrassed on the question of “consent form”.