Digital IDs can resolve Caymanian status question

| 22/06/2018 | 75 Comments
blockchain, Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaks at CYDEC 2018

(CNS): The solution to the growing problem of Caymanians needing to prove their status is most likely to be found through the use of digital technology, Premier Alden McLaughlin told an industry conference in Cayman on Thursday. Speaking at the Cayman Islands Digital Economy Conference (CYDEC), held at the Kimpton Seafire, McLaughlin said the ability to identify who is Caymanian has become ever more important to gain access to voting and employment opportunities. 

“Having to prove that you are Caymanian can be onerous, and having to do it over and over when changing jobs for instance can be annoying to say the least,” the premier said. “So it is important that we find some way to solve this issue and it is thought that by using a digital identification, where ones status as a Caymanian is proven for once and all and linked to your digital ID, is likely the best solution to this problem.  And potentially this ID will also serve as your voter ID, driver’s licence as well as identity card.”

McLaughlin said the government had made some important progress in delivering public services online, notably in the business sector, with company registrations, land registry and work permits, along with areas that most have welcomed, like online driving licences and motor vehicle registration, which would otherwise involve long queues and often a return visit.

Today some 36% of police clearances are done online, he stated, but there is much more to be done.

“But certainly the last administration that I lead, as well as the current administration, is taking e-Government seriously and we intend to make a lot of progress over the next three years to move our e-Government initiatives forward and ensure that Government is doing its part for Cayman’s digital economy,” McLaughlin said.

Turning to the financial industry and fintech sector in Cayman, the premier said he was very excited about Cayman’s prospects to become a major player in this fourth industrial revolution. Leveraging on the conditions that have made the Cayman Islands such a successful jurisdiction for financial services, McLaughlin said the same things make us attractive to the blockchain industry.

These include Cayman’s ability to cater to a diverse market, as it does with funds, insurance and trusts, all supported by the industry’s world class service providers, strong copyright and IP protection, of course in a tax neutral jurisdiction.

“Blockchain related companies have already set up shop at Cayman Tech City, a part of Cayman Enterprise City, and I am told there are more in the offing. We are embracing the opportunity for innovation,” he said

While Cayman is indeed making progress in online delivery of government services, the question remains how far away Cayman is away from a full digital ID system for the population, compared to progressive digital countries like Estonia, represented at CYDEC by Dr Arvo Ott of the nation’s e-government Foundation, which can deliver a digital ID to an individual in just one day.

Ian Tibbetts, Director of e-Government at the Cayman Islands Government, however, indicated that the timeline might be not be that far away.

The key issue of interoperability will be in place by July, Tibbetts said, which is where a system is in place for the different parts of government IT to talk to each other, so that when an individual shows up at a government department, the system is able to check what it needs to.

In terms of solutions to get the base data for a digital ID system, procurement is currently ongoing and that is expected to be in place by the first half of next year. At that point, e-government services for individuals can be identified and employed. As for full rollout of a system of digital IDs to the population, that could be done in up to three years, he said.

Right now, the areas the department is most closely focused on are identity and citizenship, trade and business licensing and property transactions.

“In terms of e-voting, the technology will be ready in six months but do we really want it as a community?” Tibbetts asked. “That is a discussion we need to have. E-voting systems require earned trust. You need to have the technology but also to be able to trust that technology. You can’t just transplant and deploy an e-voting system in a matter of months.”

It was further noted that the process of digitising public services would have an impact on employment in Cayman, particularly in the civil service for the individuals at the front line delivering these services.

Chris Bailey, of PwC, added that in addition to thinking about retraining and what these workers will be doing in three years, we also need to address a potential skills shortage in technology and to train our young people for the jobs that will need to be done in the future, and we don’t know yet what some of those will be.

Premier’s prepared speech at Cayman’s Digital Economy conference, June 2018

CNS: The headline and the first sentence have been corrected. They initially indicated that the digital technology the premier was promoting for IDs was blockchain.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fix the Dump! Do something about plastic pollution! Help your troubled children! Protect turtles during nestling and hatching season!

    “It has become increasingly hard to prove you are Caymanian… “- it would have been funny if it wasn’t reflecting the real sate of affairs in the country of 60,000 people.

  2. Eylül says:

    Good comment for Monday morning ????

  3. Anonymous says:

    In other news the government introduced ‘tamper proof’ trackable license plates which apart from monitoring your every movement was to prevent car theft, yet after over a million dollars spent, does neither. No reason to believe blockchain is any kind of solution, but as no one is ever held accountable for this massive waste of public funds it will probably go ahead anyway. After all, now the Dvdl has failed miserably to produce and deliver the plates, the government proposes to make it work by suggesting a 10k fine to the public!

  4. Anonymous says:

    What about increased poverty and lack of accessable healthcare, crime, gangs, third world education system.
    Shouldn’t that be more important than protecting the wealthy ?

  5. #Blown-Away says:

    What about the ILLEGAL ALIENS we have in Cayman? How about implementing Social Security IDs to weed out the Illegals??????

  6. Anonymous says:

    Exactly what track record of projects of any scale does the local instigators of this system have?
    What qualifies them to lead this initiative, except build an empire with the duplication of expertise that already exists in Government Computer Services.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sure hope the Premier and Minister Hew are ready to deal with the cyber attacks if they let the Estonians and Mr. Tibbetts make all of us use their digital ids. This is the kind of thing they need to be ready to deal with:

    Now, in 2017, it was discovered that a flaw in a widely used code library has caused vulnerabilities in millions of encryption keys, including national ID cards. These included the electronic ID systems of Estonia and Slovakia. In October 2017, a month and a half after being privately informed of the vulnerability, the Estonian Police announced that that a “vulnerability potentially affecting digital use of Estonian ID cards” had been identified. However, they added, the ID cards “are completely secure”.

    The Estonians subsequently backed away from this position and the certificates associated with the 750 000 affected ID cards were suspended. The cards are now being updated with new credentials.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about taking away the passports from those that shouldn’t have gotten. Leaving Caymanians (born or otherwise) with the passport!!!! That was only CAYMANIANS have the Cayman password. That would be a lot easier than this stupid idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      ???????? Caymanian passports should have NEVER been issued to non-citizens. If that stupidity hadn’t been started, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

  9. Sam C. says:

    What’s that I hear? The sound of the men, working on the chain gang?

  10. Boggy Sound man says:

    Think they better check the latest business news on these digital currencies that are being hacked all over and they are rampant for corruption. But maybe that’s what our leaders want another corrupt mess to drag the country down.

  11. anonymous says:

    Windrush 2.0? Prove your citizenships or get deported to someplace you don’t know

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous. This has the hallmarks of all the recent harebrained schemes that have taken place when some cowboys have sold a terrible idea to naive politicians. Fix the foundations then start building. You have a shambolic public sector, crime on the increase, growing disparity between the have’s and have-nots and a faceless man playing Sim City with the island.

    • Anonymous says:

      I thought the egovernment initiative was to make it easier to do business and live here. As usual this has turned in to creating another government black hole to pour money into and hire international consultants to create something we don’t t need. We are a SMALL place, we dont need some fancy system like countries with millions of people need.

  13. Anonymous says:

    But first we have to bring in consultants, spend a million or two the end up with a system that doesn’t work right? Seriously the number of Caymanian’s is so small a much simpler system can work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Get real we have 60,000 people we don’t need an expensive complicated Estonia system designed for their country of 1,300,000 people!

    • Jotnar says:

      Like a simple database. However, the real problem is that government doesn’t have a central register of who is Caymanian. That’s why they ask for all the supporting data when someone asks them to confirm they are Caymanian.

      The system creaked along amiably enough, with everyone making assumptions about who was or wasn’t Caymanian, including the individuals themselves (hence the ghost Caymanian issue) until the restrictions on employers for employing non Caymanians got so tight that employers started to routinely ask for Caymanians to prove they were Caymanian!

      Consternation. The government can’t criticise employers for actually following the law, some unscrupulous employers are using it as an excuse to employ their preferred candidate by discounting Caymanians who lack the magic confirmation from CIG, and the government is terrified of asking all Caymanians to dig out their records and prove their citizenship but too damn lazy to dig through the records and try and compile their own list for an estimated 35,000 people.

      So we end up with guff like this, where the Premier says we have to have a block chain based approach which would take ages to implement (and beyond the next election cycle), blithely ignoring the fact that any service provider will still require to be told who is and is not Caymanian. Just saying they are going to compile a list and unfortunately because the records are not computerised and/or different systems dont talk to each other, everyone who hasnt already obtained the necessary certificates will now have to submit paperwork or be excluded from being Caymanian is not conducive to being re elected.

      Law of unintended consequences – sounds great to give Caymanians preference in employment by law, to limit NAU to Caymanians, ditto education, ditto political office – right up to the point where someone says prove it. And yet another example of government faced with a difficult and politically unpopular decision attempting to defer it buy promising some magical solution that regrettably will takes millions and years of consultancy to work out how its going to be implemented.

      • Anonymous says:

        The original headline was wrong and Premier did not Suggedt using blockchain for digital ids. I was there and I heard what he said. Which is why the headline has changed from what was there yesterday.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Tibbetts, if you’re reading, I do NOT trust e-voting. It is (generally) unverifiable. Add by the time you’ve added the bells and whistles to make it properly auditable (including the audits themselves to prove the system honest every time) you’ll have something more complex and more expensive than we have now.

    As for ‘online voting’, by the time you make that certifiable, I.e., have a robust digital ID system, you have a system I would not trust not to be corrupted or compromised in some way at some time.

    Similarly I do not want National ID tied to biometrics. They are too easily hacked, I.e., replicated by unscrupulous persons. (Or at least techies having fun Unlike a password, which can be reset, once your biometrics are hacked you have no way reset them, and no way to prove that you are who you say you are. Think of the possible implications.

    So I vote NO to national ID, much less digital ones. Their benefits to me the citizen are outweighed by their cost to me the free citizen.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry to be blunt but do you even know how a blockchain works? It’s virtually impossible to break because everyone verifies every single change through the use of mathematics, in layman and simplified terms

      Like the people against taxed cannabis – don’t knock it til you try it cause you don’t know what you’re talking about. Where were you when bitcoin was $50:1?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I do know how blockchain works. Its virtually impossible to hack if you have a virtually limitless distribution of nodes. If you have a limited number of nodes, say in a country the size of Cayman, then you just need to add 50%+1 to the system and hack to you hearts content. There have already been examples of this on Etherium-based cryptocurrencies. And, though what;s being proposed isn’t a cryptocurrency we can look at them as instructive on the types of breaches we can expect of this system (assuming anyone wants breach the system.) AS one reporter put it “Every few months it seems as if a virtual currency hack makes the news, exposing blockchain technology as less than perfect when it comes to security.” They’re not all successful of course, but you just have to successfully hack the election voting machines once.

        But, even if you think the blockchain is unhackable, there’s ‘easier’ ways to get at the data. Just hack the Government’s central depository. Or wait for the private contractor to accidentally dump it online. Then set up your new blockchain to show you’re Bob not Bill and you’re in business. Because, hey, you can trust the blockchain, right?

        So, no, I don’t trust an Electronic Biometric-based National Identification. (Much less electronic voting systems currently available.) The system gives me the citizen no advantages over what I now have and me the free person too many potential problems when it inevitably fails. And, yes, I do know what I’m talking abut.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden you need to stop this absurdity. Mr Tibbetts should get his head out of the clouds and stop creating some big Estonian look alike National ID we don’t need and don’t want. All these years and still trying to get that police clearance system to work right.

  15. Joe B says:

    If Cayman islands won’t plan for a future it will stay in third world status forever. Just the way most voters want.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think it about “planning for a future” as you say but making sure the proper plans and implementation is made.

      CCTV was supposed to plan for the future but it doesn’t work. The new car licence plates were supposed to be sophisticated and plan for the future but they don’t work. Forgive the cynicism but if government can’t get existing CCTVs to work, what makes you think they will be successful in others?

      • Anonymous says:

        None of that “futuristic” stuff works without competent workers to use it and keep it functional. That’s why CCTV, Turtle farm, Cayman Airways …..Hell just about anything that is Cayman run is dysfunctional. Caymanians do not want stuff they can not understand. They don’t trust things that are beyond their comprehension. All countries, Religions, cultures, are this way. Understandable. Government is still trying to make garbage collection work. Maybe try again in another ten years. Expats could make it work but who can trust them?

    • Anonymous says:

      Old buddy Joe Blo, you need to update your chip – the term “third world” means absolutely nothing in today’s global context other than a derogatory term from the past.

      Get over yourself and get out some more or you will be stuck in the past forever.

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to go to a third world country. Cayman is so not third world

  16. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need blockchain tech or supercomputers to determine where someone was born, who their parents are/were, their financial and health status, and how long they have been normally and legally resident. That’s the function of Immigration and the CI Status and Permanent Residency Board – let them do their job. In any case, all Caymanians, once qualified, should have the same legal rights. There shouldn’t be all this score-keeping and multi-tier hierarchy in regards to the quality of belonger-ship: with Evangelical Caymanians in the nucleus, paper Caymanians over here, wayward born Caymanians over there, Status Grantees somewhere around the edge, and the oops-forgot-to apply-at-18 kids wondering if they’ll ever really count. Our party-centric regimes enjoy keeping track of, and maintaining these social partitions, instead of reconciling and embracing everyone as Caymanian. Some are never going to be Caymanian enough…

  17. Slacker says:

    Why not? Cayman is rated 190th out of 196 countries, when it comes to internet service and costs. Why not help out the poor Technology providers, by forcing us to use their crappy service.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The future is now and the future is AI and blockchain! I can’t wait until my thoughts are all on the cloud with everyone else’s! Where do I get in line for my chip?

  19. Anonymous says:

    arent you worried about dart buying your country mr premiere??? sooner or later the government may regret allowing it?

    • Anonymous says:

      I used to think Marco and him were just being shortsighted with a focus on work permit and PR revenues…no one is that dull…he’s taking care of himself at the expense of every Caymanian. He is the most dangerous leader you’ve ever had.

  20. Anonymous says:

    ID cards are a great idea, provided all residents including work permit holders have them. Now, if only we could work out who is Caymanian before the cards are issued so we can be sure to only issue the designation of Caymanian, to Caymanians.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The chip on the wrist or forhead

  22. Anonymous says:

    Historically have we ever had a good Premier?

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is the Beginning of the End, the BIBLE is fulfilling right before our eyes KJV Revelation 13
    16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
    17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you!

      Mark of the beast = microchip implant!

      Wake-up people!

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish someone would come here for you, get you on a boat and then sail away and make you leave us alone with your doomsday shit.

    • SSM345 says:

      I thought it happened long time ago seeing as we all have bank accounts, id’s and anything elsewith your personal details to function in this world?

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly!! Now there is a better and more efficient way of storing this information everyone loses their minds. Bunch of morons!

      • Anonymous says:

        Exodus 31:14 instructs to kill anyone you see working on sabbath. Baptists call Sunday sabbath and Adventist call Saturday sabbath.

        I would never harm you because a book because a book written by people who thought that the sun orbited the earth told me to.

        We must follow these commandments too or we just picking and choosing to fit personal agendas? See CNS comments on gay marriage with the two ladies for further info lol.

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t need a book to tell me the Sun orbits the entire Earth as does the Moon. We are not moving….my common sense tells me that every single day.

          But NASA, has you believing some impossible stuff that people would die defending with absolutely no proof.

          NASA even tells you their pictures are all composites. Look-up the definition of a composite to further understand.

        • Anonymous says:

          The Ten Commandments are supposed to be use as a mirror to examine ourselves to show us how imperfect we are and not a way to get us into heaven. God sent us Jesus because He knew we break the law. The Law does not save us. Jesus Christ saves us and not ourselves.

      • Anonymous says:

        So it’s better to implant a micro-ship under your skin, which they can use to track your every single move (including when you shit), and it can also give you infections and other health issues.

        Yes, some of us are sooo ignorant for pointing out the many cons of such a system, whereas the majority of you gullible lot, will do anything you’re told without critical thinking!

        Cayman will start with e-cards, then they will introduce micro-chips….one step at a time toward the one world order.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Bible also condones slavery.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Anybody who has taken the red pill know full well that Blockchain technology will be a fundamental building block for the coming One World Government.
    The rest of you can stay asleep for now.
    You’ll be lining up for your chips soon enough.
    Before you choke on your cornflakes, try a little research and then come back.

    Morons build machinery, infect it with flawed AI and then let AI rule them.
    Blind leading the blind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Me thinks you watched “The Hundred” too many times. Just so you know that series was science fiction…

      • Anonymous says:

        I do not watch TV actually. Not at all. I do read copious amounts of news stories on both sides of the spectrum and I watch Silicon Valley YouTube videos (e.g. Brian Johnson, the guy who sold to PayPal who wants to put a chip in your brain.)
        Finally I read the Bible and have it read it for many years. I can tell you that what it says is precisely what is happening today.
        But then again, that is what I like to do. I have always been curious, especially about science and God. In fact, it was science that gave me a deeper understanding of this incredible creation/matrix that we live in.
        It is astonishing if you stop and wonder that we exist and we can think totally independently.

        In fact, I’d like to keep it that way, so it’s no chip for me. Good luck.

        • ALIE says:

          Chips will not be optional.

          • Anonymous says:

            Some of us are ready to die for what we believe in. We will not accept the mark of the beast or the one world order.

            Ask yourselves if you are truly willing to follow someone or something that forces you to have a bar scan on your fore-head or micro-chip implanted in your right hand.

            Ask yourselves what has happened to “free will”?

      • Anonymous says:

        So was star wars and star trek, yet people believe it to be all truth.

        Blind man: “How do you know that space-travel is real?”

        Boy genius: “Because I saw it on T.V”

  25. Anonymous says:

    Alden will go down in history as a sell out who was clueless to the wants and needs of his people. A man who played patsy to the foreign elite and whom future leaders should never again try to imitate. A man who thought he was smart but was a oblivious gazelle amongst lions. None of his “unity government” pairs speak out against his laughable solutions so they too shall go down when his ship sinks.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like this idea…

  27. Anonymous says:

    Classic case of ignoring common day problems that are right under your nose while instead trying to solve (or announcing that you are trying to solve) problems in more complicated (and better sounding) ways.

    Using the word Blockchain makes great headlines, such as:

    – Government looking to Blockchain and related technologies to resolve the current dump problem in Cayman
    – Government working with sophisticated and international technology partners with blockchain and distributed ledge expertise to solve Cayman’s reckless driving habits and unlicensed vehicles
    – Blockchain and FinTech to be implemented across the island in order to monitor (in real time) some of the CCTV.

    This government is a consultant’s wet dream which is way so many new “consulting companies” are whispering in their ear.

    There are simpler ways to solve many of Cayman’s problems but it takes leadership and proper enforcement of existing laws. Not fun though and doesn’t make a great headline. You can’t just announce “government to enforce laws!”. So bland!

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe putting one of these blocks on a chain on the new licence plates will slow people down.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not how it works dufus. Imagine a public ledger verified by every single user but instead of paper it’s done digitally and automatically. Practically impossible to forge or alter by corruption. Why not?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, there are much simpler ways to solve our government inefficiency. I wish they would just do more like the planning department does. I work in a builders office and we use government online system to get our permits and inspections and it works great.

  28. PD says:

    Thank you honorable Premier. You have our best interest at heart!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I say Chip and Pin, its the only way to go.

  30. This is a dumb idea for Cayman. The reasons are simple, Cayman does not have the level of education in technology skills to carry this idea out. Also, you would have to bring in thousands of expat technology experts which the CIG would never do for political reasons. On top of that, thousands of public service workers would be laid off which is also not acceptable politically.

    Estonia is light years ahead of Cayman in technology education. To compare Estonia with Cayman indicates the author of this idea did not fully do his homework before coming to the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thousands of expat technology experts? Try three. Is Estonia the only other place in the world you know of?

      • 1:04, You obviously do not know a lot about block chain technology. Estonia, which brought the world Skype software technology, is known widely in block chain circles as blockchain nation. Estonia is the world’s most advanced digital nation helping entrepreneurs and governments unleash the potential of blockchain technology. They have thousands of technology experts working in the field. If you think Cayman can do it with 3 people then you do not understand what is being proposed for Cayman.

  31. Whosay says:

    What a disgrace all because our bullshit government gave and sold our rights as Caymanians to some very ungrateful and undesirable persons and left those who help build this place out in the cold with a very bad taste in their mouths! Shame on you ppm and your Unity orangutan holding on to your neck. Block&chain need to tied to your neck Alden.

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