Gov’t begins work on introducing national ID cards

The Cayman Islands government has issued a request for proposals for technology and services required to implement national ID cards for all residents, which authorities expect to begin issuing later this year.

According to a press release on Monday, the e-government team in the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure is finalising its preparations to develop and roll out the National Identity programme.

The programme involves the issuing of a photo-identification card which will carry details of a resident’s name, date of birth, immigration status, a chip, two digital certificates, and an identity number.

The press release noted that the card will also include “digital identity and digital signature features that will allow National ID card holders to confirm their identity online or sign documents digitally”, which officials say will make using online government services easier.

Commerce Minister Joey Hew, speaking about the cards in the Legislative Assembly in July 2019, said the database list of those who would be issued with ID cards would be derived from the general registry, immigration and work permit systems, and would be cross-referenced with the electoral roll and drivers’ licence data.

It is expected that the cards will be issued to Caymanians, permanent residents and any other residents of the Cayman Islands.

According to the RFP, which was issued last week, “The individual’s personal identification data that is printed on the card, as well as additional data fields, should also be stored digitally on the card’s chip, which can be read by contact through inserting the card’s chip in a reader, and contactless by tapping the card on a reader.”

The ID card is intended to become the primary form of government-issued photo ID, and may replace the Cayman Islands voter identification card. It is not intended as a travel document and will not replace the Cayman Islands drivers’ licence, the RPF stated.

In Monday’s press release, Hew said the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of online options for individuals and businesses. “Getting information and vital services to Caymanians and residents digitally has never been more important,” he said.

“By implementing modern solutions that are customer-focused, and which allow customer data to be securely exchanged across government entities, we aim to improve access to government services for Caymanians, residents and businesses in a way that enables the growth of our local digital economy,” he added.

Director of the ministry’s E-Government Unit, Ian Tibbetts, said in the release, “The National ID card will be an easy, durable and convenient way to present personal information without the need to carry multiple documents.”

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