The Faculty of Law at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has warned that despite being a new Bill, the National Identification and Registration Act (NIRA) (2020) still contains some of the privacy concerns that saw it being struck down in the Constitutional Court in April 2019.
At that time, the Full Court, comprising of Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and Justices Lisa Palmer and David Watts, sided with former People’s National Party General Secretary, Julian Robinson, that certain aspects of the controversial legislation breached the rights of Jamaicans to privacy as is guaranteed by the constitution.
Specifically, the faculty has warned about the constitutionality of capturing the facial image of individuals and the collection of fingerprints under the new Bill.
“The latter has the added dimension of requiring an individual to place his or her hands into a specific apparatus for the collection of fingerprints. The mere storage of identity information in electronic databases also demonstrates interferences with individuals’ right to privacy,” said the law faculty in a written submissions to the Joint Select Committee of Parliament examining the new Bill.