On-going debate, Biometric ID Card for Mauritius

June 10, 2014

Reached home, had dinner & sat in front of the laptop. Aww! L’Express pushed an article about MNIS project. Let’s check.

The first line goes as:

La seule utilité des empreintes digitales dans ce projet est de munir chaque individu d’une carte d’identité nationale unique.

Well, this is not hardcoded in some ACT somewhere, so these words do not stand as guarantee.

Les données des citoyens sont utilisées uniquement dans le cadre de l’obtention et de l’usage de la carte d’identité

biometric_cardAaaaargh! No one is claiming the Gov is doing “kolkamani” with the biometric photos at the moment. Of course they won’t do that right now (^^,) … However, nothing stops them from using the biometric photo without the citizen’s consent later. If the Gov officials are so pure at heart, would they stipulate it clear with a law that no fingerprint or biometric data will ever be used without the citizen’s consent; and if any such unethical method is used to incriminate a citizen, then it won’t be accepted as valid proof. Ahaaaa! Trop beau pour être vrai ( :

D’ailleurs, dit-il, depuis le début de l’exercice de conversion, il y a eu plus de 200 tentatives de double enregistrement.

Please, spare me. Can’t you guys be more specific about the “tentatives”. How many people intentionally tried getting two ID cards & how many of the “double registrations” were actually official mistakes? The word “tentatives” could mean a lot. If I were an official, I’d be cautious at using such a word, because it directly incriminates citizens as “trying” to register twice.

The next line says, the “tentatives” were unsuccessful thanks to the use of fingerprints. Haha! Nice try.

... un besoin de mettre à jour et rectifier les données erronées de l’état civil. A ce jour, il y a plus de 40 000 cas d’erreurs.

40, 000. Who’s mistake? From my initial posts, I have been highlighting the reckless manipulation of data. You can’t replace “reckless manipulation” simply with so-called high-tech while the same persons will continue doing the petty mistakes here & there, everywhere.

... le stockage des données se fait à Maurice, «dans un centre hautement sécurisé, totalement déconnecté d’Internet», et que celles-ci ne sont accessibles qu’«à certains officiers assermentés de l’état civil».

High-security, disconnected from the Internet while being hosted in the same location as other Government services which are connected to the Internet (^^,) … How about data transfer from convention centres to the “highly secured” location? Till date we haven’t seen the recommendations of experts on the MNIS project. We haven’t seen the Rs 10M worth consultancy that was billed to the Government of Mauritius by the Singaporean team. If the recommendation document lurks on the Government Portal publicly, please let me know.

As for Civil Status officials, well I still wonder who’s Google Account was used to create the MNIC website feedback/complaint form.

Le porte-parole du MNIS a aussi tenu à souligner que, contrairement aux craintes de certains, rien n'est prévu sur la nouvelle carte d’identité concernant le stockage de données médicales. Ou encore que celle-ci ne servira pas à identifier les gens dans des lieux publics, comme le pensent certains détracteurs.

Haaa! Did you just say, rien n’est prévu? So, you folks haven’t decided yet or not announcing it officially at the moment. Come on folks, if you are not going to use those, be true to yourself, make it a law forbidding the use of biometric data other that identification under strict court decision.

The last two paragraphs were like parrot-talks. The same blabbering of the project’s success due to conversion rate. Denial of propaganda makes me giggle. They acknowledge the current ID card will be invalid as from 15 September 2014, they acknowledge there is a fine, they acknowledge there is mention of imprisonment, yet they fail to see the intimidation of the citizens of Mauritius.

On that note, I am still waiting to see a highly capable team securing & operating the Mauritian e-services. I wish the Government & the citizens could work together to make this a better place but unfortunately, some people’s ego won’t allow.

Image source: http://rampartproductions.blogspot.com/