Cambridge Analytica scandal & Mauritius

Earlier this year a major privacy scandal rocked the tech industry. It started with the revelations1 of Christopher Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, in which Wylie stated how Cambridge Analytica harvested data of Facebook users through their developed apps and how the data collected was used to predict & even influence the choices of American voters. Slowly, as more information was revealed, it became apparent that the privacy scandal was not limited to the U. [Read More]

UK Information Office steps into Cambridge Analytica investigation

Amidst media reports on the privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica & Facebook, the latter announced1 hiring digital forensics firm, Stroz Friedberg, to investigate the claims. We have hired a digital forensics firm, Stroz Friedberg, to conduct a comprehensive audit of Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica has agreed to comply and afford the firm complete access to their servers and systems. We have approached the other parties involved — Christopher Wylie and Aleksandr Kogan — and asked them to submit to an audit as well. [Read More]

Are you embarrassed, sir?

During the weekend 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? [Read More]

MNIC acknowledges the letters of conscientious objectors

I was at the MNIC unit at Emmanuel Anquetil Building this afternoon. Folks from various platforms, including « No to biometric data on ID card » and Rezistans ek Alternativ went ahead with their appointment for the enrollment for the new identity card. These citizens however do not consent to the recording and processing of their fingerprints. Each of the individuals have various reasons but they all agree on one thing; that is they are not consenting to the recording of their fingerprints. [Read More]

Can the MNIC really combat identity fraud?

If one reads the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case Madhewoo M vs State of Mauritius, one would find that a major argument that held the ruling in favor of the State is that of being able to prevent multiple enrollments; that is prevent a person from having multiple identity cards under different names. Below is a extract of the judgment where the former Project Director of MNIC, Mr Rao Ramah explained how they leverage the use of fingerprints to detect and prevent re-registration attempts. [Read More]

The Minister of Technology cites the MNIC Act in his press conference

Top FM reported that the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation said in a press conference that it is nowhere stipulated in the law that all persons need to have their identity card. I watched an extract of the video when the article was shared on Facebook. The Minister within less than a minute mentioned two things that would contradict each other. He first says that it is not stipulated in the law that every person should have his/her identity card, and then goes on to say that the law says everyone should have an identity card. [Read More]

Mauritius: No to biometric data on ID Card

I was at the MNIC id card conversion centre, Emmanuel Anquetil Building, Port-Louis, this morning. Folks from the « No to biometric data on ID Card » platform and Rezistans ek Alternativ were gathered for a common cause; i.e to apply for the identity card but refuse to consent to the recording of their fingerprints. Quick recap The Mauritius National Identity Card unit requires the signature of citizens on a declaration form that would say they consent to the recording & processing of their fingerprint image data for the creation on fingerprint minutiae. [Read More]

Privy Council's verdict on the MNIC case

In several posts earlier I cited the verdicts of the Supreme Court of Mauritius in the two cases which concern the recording & storage of fingerprint for the purpose of the Mauritius National Identity Card. Note that Dr Maharajah Madhewoo made an appeal to the Privy Council and the case was heard on the 20th July 2016. The judgement was given in October of the same year. The Privy Council noted an ambiguity in the judgment of the Supreme Court with paragraph 5 and 6 contradicting each other. [Read More]

Offences under the Mauritius National Identity Card Act

If a country has strict border security with biometric identification, you may still decline to visit the country, but if your own government makes it compulsory to give fingerprints for an identity card then you’re an outlaw for refusing same. The fear of paying Rs 100, 000 fine and five years of imprisonment has certainly made many people rush to the national identity card conversion centres. I had friends and relatives sending me messages asking whether it is true that they could be jailed for refusing to give their fingerprints for the national identity card. [Read More]

Should we consider fingerprint minutiae as biometric data?

I wrote a letter to the Data Protection Commissioner today in order to obtain some clarification on whether fingerprint minutiae is biometric data. The Supreme Court of Mauritius in its verdict in the case JUGNAUTH Pravind Kumar (Hon) vs The State of Mauritius (2015 SCJ 178), said the following: « we grant a permanent writ of injunction prohibiting the defendants from storing, or causing to be stored, as the case may be, any fingerprints or biometric information data obtained on the basis of the provisions in the National Identity Card Act and the Data Protection Act. [Read More]