Do we really need a new Identity Card with biometric technology and our fingerprints on?

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gices 13 Aug 2013

So it seems the first batch of these Identity Cards with smart technology will be made available to us as from the 1st of October 2013 and the pros for this change are:

  1. To facilitate the payment of pensions
  2. For better health service
  3. Make it easier for declaration of personal tax

new identity card mauritius

The project has cost $40 million (US dollars) to provide the new chip card for the 890,000 adults in the country. But seriously, do we really need this? Just having my fingerprint on the card makes me feel like a convict, what about you?

Update

On 29 May 2015, the Supreme Court has ordered that all fingerprints and biometric data be destroyed.

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45 Comments

MikeSin 13 Aug 2013

I believe you can guess the real reasons for the authorities going for the new biometric technology. The main facility will be for the authorities who will use this as an exercise to collect data on it's citizens. The data will be kept on a central server which will serve for social security, police, MRA, etc. Think about it you will give at least two finger prints and a photo and you will need to furnish proof of address. This is a major security/identity data collection. For example, once the data is collected it can be used to track down social security fraudsters.

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gices 14 Aug 2013

We're moving towards a Big Brother style governance from what I see. I was walking down Port-Louis the other day and I noticed an overwhelming number of cameras have been installed which have nothing to do with traffic flow.

And now with our photo and fingerprint attached to this e-card, we can be sure they will know every little detail about us. Who knows, maybe they've even put a GPS system in the card so they can track us whenever they want to.

MikeSin 14 Aug 2013

We can certainly expect the centralization of these facilities. No doubt that in the near future and through international agreements, such as with the USA, personal data will be used for flight information security. This will be a major enhancement for the government services. However, it could be a concern for the public regarding personal data even though the Data Act is supposed to give guarantees.

gices 14 Aug 2013

The Data Act just makes you as an individual feel more comfortable but what goes on behind the scene is unthinkable...wasn't there a scandal about the National Security Agency (NSA) recently regarding breach of protocols?

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ha
hacker8 12 Aug 2014

The NSA Already has eyes everywhere
their spies are across the world
They are already watching over the drug -dealers etc
noone knows because they have aliases , know the language and can speak really good creole

ro
roger_2 16 Sep 2013

Here in the UK, this project was abandoned by the gov because it proved too controversial.
There is nothing inherently wrong if used properly. But problems arise when misused.
To have so much personal data centralised is dangerous and will attract a lot of undesirable attention. No security is perfect.

Rogue people within the gov may also misuse your data or sell them.

You've seen already how the NSA and other gov agencies act as a law unto themselves and spy on people through their personal details on Facebook et al. A database with a whole nation's biometric details will prove irresistible for them.

The people of the UK saw this risks and got it abolished.
Now it's your turn. Make your government work for you.

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gices 18 Sep 2013

Yep, the British citizens knew it would be a disaster if this was allowed and the government had to drop the idea. In Mauritius, it's a different story though - people here do not yet realise the problems which would arise with such a system and by the time they become aware, it would be too late.

MikeSin 27 Sep 2013

We now see a little more information about the finger-prints issue. L'Express is quoting that finger-prints will be stored in a secure state centre. For me this means what I originally thought that finger-prints will be kept on a secure state server no doubt for use by security and immigration services. Why does the citizen have no choice or say in this matter? Moreover why is the citizen being treated as a potential criminal? So far, nobody in authority has been clear on this issue and it remains highly suspect.

See:
D’abord la question qui fâche : les empreintes. Celles-ci seront stockées dans un centre de données sécurisé de l’Etat.

http://www.lexpress.mu/article/carte-nationale-didentite-les-procedures-et-les-fonctionnalites-mieux-expliquees

gices 28 Sep 2013

Thanks for updating us Mike. I'm just wondering what if we refuse to get the new ID card for privacy concerns. Do we really have a choice? Or are we going to get prosecuted for not complying?

MikeSin 28 Sep 2013

Many questions remain and nobody is giving the answers to the public. I guess at some point people will have to check with a lawyer for these answers.

MikeSin 01 Oct 2013

While the transition to the new ID card is obligatory for all citizens, requests for an injunction have been lodged with the Supreme Court. The basis is the absence of regulations on the use of the data collected as well as the anti-constitutional nature of the invasion of privacy of this new system.
Reported by l'Express: http://www.lexpress.mu/article/deux-demandes-dinjonction-contre-les-cartes-didentite-numeriques-0

gices 01 Oct 2013

I've read on L'express that you can be fined for up to Rs100,000 and 5 years in prison if you do not comply. The government is basically forcing us to give our fingerprints and other details.

TheLady_Luciifer 02 Oct 2013

where's our right to choice? and what about that to privacy? are we really living in a... democracy? ,

gices 03 Oct 2013

They tell you Mauritius is a democratic country but in reality it is not.

TheLady_Luciifer 08 Oct 2013

Mauritian people are too "innocent", t's high time to make them aware of the fraudulous intentions behind this so called "advancement" ...

anonymous_4 22 Sep 2013

How can the "ruling class" control the "country class"? How does the shepherd keep track of a herd of sheep? And how do biologists keep track of endangered wildlife? Welcome to the new world order my friend! It is part of a great scheme for the evil minority to rule the innocent majority!

This new stuff creates an illusion of security and boast loudly of it being modernism! SO FALSE and UTTER BULLSHIT. Be warned, it is not 4 fingerprints that will be collected, but all 10! Yes, all ten fingers will be scanned, recorded, and stored in this database. Furthermore, facial scanning will done, features as complex as skin grain and texture will also be recorded. I am definitely against this scheme and I won’t register for that new ID. Some are saying that if you have nothing to hide why worry? This is not the issue at all. Well, I guess then you could let the government read your mail, search your house, read your sms, view your skype chat. After all if you have nothing to hide why worry?

Furthermore, do you know what’s more frightening? The government has not given any guarantee nor taken legal measures and frameworks to ensure security! That ICTA thing is a joke, those verbal guarantee that ministers are giving are nothing more than the speech of a politician! Moreover, they are reserving themselves the right of how they are going to use this data in the future – think about sharing, matching, or tracking. Imagine in a near future, you now need this card to get access to hospital, and where your medical records are stored in it or some other database, with sharing between institutions, it will be too easy for them (politicians and influent people) to trace and link your complete history!

Do you know that police or government intelligence secretly take photos of people in public manifestation? (whether pacific or not). Facial recognition will enable to them to immediately recognise you. They won’t even need permission from a judge to do matching! There is a possibility of the ‘secret police’ (one at the service of ruling political party leaders) to potentially have a secret file on you! Go for a job interview in public sector tomorrow or apply for some kind of license, background checks will be so easy, even if you've done nothing legally wrong, it can be discriminatory for you.

In Mauritius nothing has really been done to reinforce and strengthen democracy. Do you remember the Roberston report on media law? (Google, download and read). This could have really upgraded democracy and civil rights. The government refused to implement it and now it must be in an office drawer. You see, when the government is not initiating genuine efforts to improve democracy, manipulates the TV and puts pressure on private radios (democracy’s watchdogs), how can you not doubt and question their real motives? Democracy is still in its baby days in Mauritius, who will rule in the next 20-30 yrs? A dictator? Will it still be a democratic government? You have no idea. So this is like digging your grave!

However, in France, the bio-ID is in use. France is another thing; it’s on another level relative to national security, democracy, illegal immigration and civil rights as compared to Mauritius. This project is too ‘avant-gardiste ’ for us. I won’t even start with the huge cost of this new ID and as I mentioned modernism back, do you know that in 2013, hospitals are giving patients a vulgar ‘baton- mop’ as crutch. Use that money and improve the quality of life of the common Mauritian. Invest in the public busses, improve waste collection for example. Better, they could have invested in tracking bracelets for criminals and recidivistic thugs! No, they won’t, it’s better to have a file on every citizen.

Believe me, there are compromises that can be made concerning this new ID. Bio-data is not necessary unless you plan to use it for something else! Like you have a hidden agenda for instance. I remember a Mauritian lawyer saying it anti- constitutional and against the human rights for someone to take your bio-data without your consent. Only the police reserve the right to do so and only with permission a judge and that’s when you are suspected of crime too! It is also possible for laws voted in the assembly to be anti-constitutional! Mauritius has ratified the convention of human rights and you have the right to object to the collection of your bio-data. For those who really believe in democracy and in civil and individual rights, you have the duty to reject against collection of your bio-data!

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gices 22 Sep 2013

Very well said...

gices 30 May 2015

The court has ordered (29 May 2015) the biometric data to be erased now :)

Muzzammil 13 Oct 2013

Im not looking forward of switching to the new id card, i guess i respect my privacy and i believe the amount of money being wasted on such a useless investment could had been used in other ways like improving internet connection , giving poor people a better means of living.

The data being added to the id card does not respect privacy of people, what if these data lay into the wrong hands? what if data are misused? Does personal data of people still kept secure in the world we are living i.e a 21st century life where technology has moved beyond imagination? The video of "lalit" really changed my opinion and my way of thinking and made me realise that mauritius doesn't seems a democracy, what i mean by that is, there should had been public voting about how much people agree with that and how many people don't.

implementing such stuffs really neeed public opinion and my last words are that well, i don't look forward about stepping that id office ;)

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gices 14 Oct 2013

The Rs100,000 fine and 5 year jail sentence if you don't get the new card is sheer bully. It seems Hitler is back...

Ax
Axome 28 May 2014

Nice post! Hope that most people understand that we shouldn't give our fingerprint even if somebody pointed the small privacy left to us with phone, computer etc. Your fingerprint is like the symbol of your privacy and liberty and you're ready to just give it like this, it's pretty sad, no ?

It's true that our phone knows a lot about us, sms, facebook, mail etc. but you are the only responsible of these informations. Nobody forced you to put your life on facebook, simply don't create your account.

Here, with fingerprint, the case is different. First, we are talking about fingerprints, it's not your name or a photo, it's a print of your fingers, a body stamp which is the most private thing that you can have and an easy way to identify you. In other word, it's a big step against liberty and privacy.

Second, you're forced to give the authority your fingerprint, to give them your privacy. Where are your rights? Give me the choice, and I will choose to give it or not. It's really a personal matter, it's like forcing you to give your DNA.

Third, if you're ready to give something like our fingerprint to someone, you must really trust this person. He mustn’t give in to others or use it against you. This is a sad point but unfortunately many of us have lost trust in the Mauritian authority and the government. I won't justify my point but if you read and understand the media every day you will certainly agree with me.

Well, having said all that, it wasn't the purpose of my comment.. Actually I'm just looking where to join people who don't want to give their fingerprint for the new ID card and what to do. If people have already find an issue with the law etc.

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gices 28 May 2014

It seems now people are understanding better the risks with giving out their fingerprints, better late than never I suppose.

If enough people make a stand, the law can be scrapped.

Yashvin 14 Aug 2013

Why do you have to feel like a convict if you have nothing to fear?

I have nothing against the new ID card as long as it spares us the need to carry unnecessary documents all the time. Same for the cameras which have proven to have a direct effect on the criminality rate. Personally, I feel more secure with cameras because I know that there will be less chances of robbery or anyone attempting to commit some crime in the area.

Coming to the card, I haven't read much on the details about it but it will be interesting if they have include the driving license (and the useless copy of the driving license counterpart). And of course, make sure that the details included in the chip are extracted and put to use in a very near future in the related offices.

MikeSin 14 Aug 2013

I agree about security. From past experience such systems should improve administrative tasks both from the user and client view. In the future, there will be the possibility of the public to use the card with a card-reader to access administration forms, registration, retirement pension, efiling of tax returns on the web as well as the usual internet banking.

gices 14 Aug 2013

@Yashvin : Biometric is usually used for people who are under surveillance (see wikipedia's entry), so what you're inferring is that if 5% of the population is criminal, then the whole population needs to be treated the same way.

Our population is too small; are they trying to find the next Mauritian terrorist or what?

What's wrong with using just a chip card? All necessary details can be loaded on there without the need for our fingerprints. I believe it's the first step towards the beginning of mass surveillance in Mauritius.

MikeSin 16 Aug 2013

I see that there is now more opposition to the new identity card coming from the Social Workers union. They mention something not published: that apart from the family status the data on your schooling will also be recorded. If this is true there is no limit to personal information being harvested.
See report Defimedia report: http://www.defimedia.info/live-news/item/37190-le-regroupement-des-travailleurs-sociaux-s-oppose-a-l-introduction-des-nouvelles-cartes-d-identite.html

gices 16 Aug 2013

That's really bad. What's the school I've been to got to do with this? Or my family situation? They're probing too much into a person's background and privacy and trying to make you think it's going to benefit you.

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anonymous_4 22 Sep 2013

I agree with you Gices. We'll be tracked and watched by the gov, thus losing our freedom in the process. I hope we won't be forced to get this new ID card. We should always have the choice.

mi
mistermaster 18 Aug 2013

they should not be allowed to keep so much information, before they can guarantee that this will not be breached...
imagine if the servers of major worldwide organisations can be hacked into, what level of security are these people gonna provide?
too dangerous to have so much info - could fall into the hands of malicious hackers...
when the uk annnounced plans to introduce bio id cards, there was a revolt and the govt had to back down!

gices 18 Sep 2013

I wouldn't believe them even if they guarantee the details are going to be used for official purposes only. Would you?

TheLady_Luciifer 08 Oct 2013

Never. They claim this will be of use against criminal acts, but what some highly ranked officer ( who has full access to the so called secured database) commits a crime and blames someone else for it?

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TheLady_Luciifer 02 Oct 2013

Many people claim this might be an attempt to dictatorship in Mauritius. How can be the person in charge of this project be himself blamed for fraud?? ( Valdus - Chinnapah ) Electronic chips in those cards do not guarrantee our complte freedom of living. This is violating our rights. I am newly 18 and I clearly refuse to change my identity card for this new dog collar!

gices 03 Oct 2013

I think they have started the distribution of these new IDs to the young people first because they are less aware of the problems. Many people in your age bracket tend to believe what is said in the newspaper/TV which is about all the benefits or they think it's really cool they are the first people to have this new style ID card and they can 'show off' to friends and family who have not received it yet. Dictatorship is what we heading towards and we need more people like yourself to oppose these ridiculous laws they're trying to impose on us.

TheLady_Luciifer 08 Oct 2013

Talking about young people, it won't be surprising that Mauritius will one day end up with no brainy people! brain drain will spread its tentacles because all what is clearly seen on television about the identity card distribution is ignorant people who are not aware of the risks they are exposed to.. example, why the h.. should one know where I live? Does one's identity change with location???

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IrishPinkFloyd 17 Mar 2014

I'm against a law that oblige you to submit your fingerprints as it creates a situation where it can be misused by anyone who has power in the government or other political institutions and has access to this data! i heard that a case was made in court by Mr. P Jugnauth against biometric information and a ruling was made about section 10A of the constitution so one could refuse giving his fingerprints until september2014! But today i went to inquire about that at the NIC Center and they told me it is obligatory to give the finger prints and they were given no orders about that (section 10A) law! In mauritius government is acting as a dictator! It is unlawful for government to go against human rights. My finger prints are private for me only and no one will oblige me to give them cause i'm not a criminal! Stupid governments just have to withdraw themselves if they feel their power going up their heads! As we citizens that create a government and not vice versa!

anonymous_4 03 Oct 2013

lol if you think your identity is being kept safe by NOT having this new ID card in place, your a fool. As soon as you get a phone, a credit card, a bank account, a facebook page, a passport etc you have already surrendered you personal information. Don't kid yourselves, your info is already out there. This card is just another gimmick to store all of it in one place.

In fact if you have ever been to the USA you have to surrender all fingerprints (10 of them) upon arrival at any US airport, no matter who or what nationality you are.

So whats the fuss about this card? Not much because the info it stores is already somewhere out there.

gices 03 Oct 2013

Personal info like name, age, gender, address is one thing, biometric is another. My bank does not know what my fingerprints look like and Facebook cannot use iris recognition or retina scanning to identify me.

ro
roger_2 08 Oct 2013

The danger lies in all this information being stored in a single database. Passport, credit cards, FB are all disseminated. You will have to try to reconcile data from one source with another.
With the new ID card, everything will be there together in one place. Scary. For me.

That's why I don't intend to visit the US. They call themselves a democracy but when they try to impose their will on others (for e.g. Vietnam) there are no better than tyrants (USSR).

TheLady_Luciifer 08 Oct 2013

Had Mauritius been a totally corrupt-free country, I'd maybe agree with some of the features of this ID card. However our Governmental system is far to corrupted. Talking about going abroad and having your fingerprints taken uh? what about the poor ones living with hardly something to eat? What if someone takes his or her identity and commits murder leaving behind all his 10 fingerprints on the murder scene??? Am I assured that the one taking any fingerprints is not forwarding them to some secret database? Too many questions are left unanswered.

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gices 08 Oct 2013

Exactly, just looking at the level of corruption in Mauritius is enough to elicit fear in the heart of the sane.

Ak
Aki 10 May 2014

I think it's a yes..

gices 11 May 2014

And why do you think it's necessary?

Fu
Futtinga 28 Sep 2014

Yes definetely

de
destinydol 26 Aug 2013

Great Idea!!

gices 26 Aug 2013

You need to tell us why you think it's a great idea, otherwise you're not contributing anything of value. Click on the settings icon under your answer to edit your post. Thanks.