NIA casts doubts on NCA’s bio data for SIM Registration

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National Identification Authority Building
National Identification Authority Building

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has cast doubts over the ability of the bio data being collected by National Communications Authority (NCA) to be able to reference the NIA’s database for verification. 

This was contained in a letter from NIA dated September 13, 2021 title RE: SIM REGISTRATION EXERCISE – BIOMETRIC IDENTITY VERIFICATION VIA NCA ANDROID REGISTRATION APPLICATION and signed by the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah.

In that letter, intercepted by Techgh24, the NIA sought to response to another letter dated September 3, 2021, seeking to confirm whether the NCA’s bio data for the SIM registration was of a format and sufficiently high quality for successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS).

In response to that particular enquiry, Prof. Attafuah wrote “The design and development of the process by which the NCA, acting by itself or through a third party, will collect and store biometric data of SIM card holders is exclusive to NCA. The NIA does NOT have any input in the development of the said Android Registration Application. For this reason, NIA is UNABLE to confirm that the biometric data to be collected by the NCA for the purpose described above will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database.”  

There are undue delays and long queues at SIM registration centers across the country, solely because the NCA has mandated telecom operators to collect another set of biometric data using an android app developed by some Kenyan boys who were hired by NCA’s agent, Kelni GVG.

Telcos have said that the app is slow – in that they were told the app will complete one registration process within five minutes, but since they started using it, it takes up to 20 minutes before they are able to process one registration.

In fact, some SIM holders have told TechGh24 that they have been visiting registration centers for days no but their biometric data have not been taken yet.

Moreover, the telcos also said the app is not compatible with several handheld devices so, they are unable to recruit all of their agents across the country to do registration because of the limitations of the app.

So, while the app and its usage for the collection of another set of bio data is causing undue delays and frustration for everyone, as Ghanaians race towards a March 31, 2022 deadline, NIA had long cautioned that the bio data being collected by NCA may not even be compatible with the NIS for the purposes of verification.

Indeed, the NIA boss also wrote that non-live bio data collected and stored by third parties, like the NCA is doing, cannot be verified by NIA, adding that the way to verify details on the Ghana Card is to use a portable fingerprint identification device, and not to collect a non-live bio data and store outside of the NIS.

Meanwhile, NIA said it has provided the telcos with four ways by which they can verify Ghana Card details against SIM card details, stating all four options in the letter.

It added that the fee for verify one SIM card against the NIS database is GHS0.50.

Find the full three-page letter below:

Letter
Letter
Letter
Letter
Letter
Letter
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