I wish to present this letter as my feedback to the digital identity bill which is to be debated in parliament.
I would like to acknowledge the intended purpose of the digital identity bill and the digital identity framework. I have listened as the government has made a concerted effort to promote the digital identity as something that will improve the lives of Caymanians and all residents – making it easier to open bank accounts, making it easier to deal with DVDL, immigration, needs assessment, etc. I think it’s clear that the intent of those who created the legislation and those who are promoting it is benevolent. It does appear as though the intent of the legislation is to make all our lives better and more convenient.
However I wish to express some concerns that I and others around me currently share. I am concerned about the widespread implementation of digital identity bills on a global level – as if on a concerted basis, and wonder why this is being pushed on countries around the world all of a sudden. I am concerned that the digital identity card will one day be required to access critical services on the island. It may be voluntary now, but what guarantees me that it will remain so? I am concerned that the digital identity could be used as a tool by a future government or private sector entity such as banks with intentions to censor, discriminate and deny important services to persons that it does not agree with.
The digital identity system may be voluntary now, it may only be linked to limited and basic information now, but there is nothing stopping future additions to the system, like linking medical records, school records, travel records, banking information, social media records, police or court records, vaccination status or other very sensitive information. This system requires strong legislative controls to remain inclusive and beneficial to all Caymanians.
Additionally, I expect that the tenets of the data protection law will still apply to the data that the government collects and links together for the formation of each person’s digital identity.
I hope that the very real risk of data breaches and unlawful sharing of personal data with third parties is addressed in the policies that are developed in support of this new legislation.
For this reason, I would like to petition the government to ensure that any digital identify legislation contain the following guarantees in the law itself:
1. The use of the digital identity card should remain voluntary
2. A service provided by government or a private entity like a bank should not be denied if a person chooses not to use the digital identity card
3. That the consent of the user is required for the future linking and storing of additional information which are not included currently – such as travel records, medical information and any other information which may one day be linked to the digital identity card
I think the above are MINIMUM requirements to ensure that the digital identity cards remain solely for the improvement of life in the Cayman Islands, and to ensure that the cards not be misused in the future. As our lives continue to be more and more digital, we need to ensure that our rights and freedoms are protected by any new legislation put in place.
Caymanian who wants a better future for our children