Tunisia's Plans To Bring In Its Own National 'Aadhaar' Biometric ID System Halted -- For Now

from the peace-be-with-you dept

The last time that Techdirt wrote about Tunisia was back in 2011, when the Internet helped bring about a major regime change there. Although violent protests against the government have flared up recently, in general, the processes that are being applied to shift national policies in Tunisia are both peaceful and successful. Here, for example, is some good news from Access Now on the privacy front:

This week the people of Tunisia won a major victory for privacy: the dangerous biometric ID card proposal has officially been withdrawn from consideration in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP).

We worked hard with our partners at Al Bawsala to oppose passage of the bill, including encouraging members of the assembly to adopt a set of key amendments to ensure that if it did pass, the bill would protect citizens' data and their right to consult and rectify their own information. Over the past week, we spent hours talking to assembly members, highlighting the dangers of pushing the bill through without adding necessary and vital protections for Tunisians' privacy and data security.

It worked! The assembly members advanced the amendments that we proposed, and nearly all were adopted within the Consensus Commission. The Ministry of the Interior, which had pushed hard to pass the bill without these important safeguards, dropped the proposal entirely.

That's particularly welcome at a time when the problems of India's biometric ID card system "Aadhaar" are becoming all-too clear. However, as Access Now rightly notes:

Even though we're overjoyed, we must remain vigilant. We could see this proposal revived. If that happens, we will continue working to ensure that any new legislation protects human rights.

Let's hope Tunisia's democratic legislative processes continue to function as effectively as they have in this particular case, and that the country does not end up with another Aadhaar.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Filed Under: biometrics, id, identity, privacy, tunisia

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2018 @ 2:59am

    Speaking of Aadhaar...

    ...there are as-yet-unconfirmed reports that -- for the right price -- modifications can be made to the data. I caught wind of this less than 24 hours ago, and preliminary attempts to verify it have failed. But it comes from reliable sources, e.g., people who are consistently vile, dishonest and corrupt, and so might well be expected to be early adopters of a new business model.

    1. I hope it's not true. 2. It's probably true. 3. If it's true, then Aadhaar must be shut down and dismantled, because this is not a recoverable situation.

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