Saturday, September 22, 2018

Identify and authenticate a person

In most countries, the primary method to authenticate a person is the passport. The passport is issued to a person and contains the photograph and other particulars of the holder. It is issued by the government.

The passport is issued on application of a person who wishes to travel to other countries. Many residents do not need to travel, and do not hold a passport.

In Singapore, the NRIC card is issued to every person from a young age. It is used to identify the holder. For example, a child who needs vaccination is identified by the NRIC card.

The other party verifies the photo on the NRIC card against the holder to authenticate the person. Quoting the NRIC No is not sufficient for identification.

Some organizations accept a photocopy of the NRIC card to authenticate a person. This practice is wrong. Anybody can obtained the photocopy and can impersonate the holder. The proper way is to check the photo on the NRIC card for authentication.

The NRIC No is a convenient way to identify a person. This makes it possible to collate the relevant information of a person, e.g. the educational certificate, medical records, ownership of assets.

It is possible for a thief to access the information and misuse it. This theft has to be dealt separately by the law. There is no need to stop the use of the NRIC No to identify a person just because somebody might use the NRIC No fraudulently.

We should recognize the value of the NRIC No and use it properly, rather than avoid the use of the NRIC No.

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