Malaysian government prioritizes security for biometric digital identity
Malaysian citizens’ data privacy and security will be a main government focus in the implementation of the country’s biometric National Digital Identity (NID) framework, says Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
The NID initiative will not replace MyKad, the country’s multi-purpose biometric digital identity card, but will be used alongside it as planned from the initial announcement last year, according to Malaysia’s government website.
The task force leading the framework is the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) in collaboration with Malaysia’s National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa), meanwhile CyberSecurity Malaysia has been formed to find the best solution in terms of data security, says Saifuddin.
Identity verification can be made physically with MyKad and online, which, Saifuddin says, could also prevent cyber-issues such as identity fraud and document falsification. The digital identity could be used for electronic healthcare records, online government services, digital KYC by financial institutions and authentication for government benefits distribution among others. The system will include support for biometric verification with facial, fingerprint or iris recognition.
Saifuddin was asked by sitting Senator Alan Ling Sie Kiong during question time at the Dewan Negara about the possible use of new technology such as blockchain to complement the development mechanism of the National Digital Identity.
Saifuddin replied “God-willing, the Home Ministry will ensure there will be no data leakage.”
“It involves (a) security aspect which has to be managed in the best possible way,” Abdullah added.
“The National Digital Identity is very important to enable connectivity of various transaction systems to facilitate the users anywhere and anytime.”
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry says it will take a technologically neutral approach, but due to public safety concerns, this is under discussion.