A LAYMAN’S GUIDE TO THE “NATIONAL DATABASE”

Disclaimer: Please note that this is my layman’s view and that the technical implementation is above my pay grade and may be materially different from this.

 

The plan is two-prong:

1. A National Identification Scheme
– which comes with a National ID Card and a Unique Number for every resident in Ghana
– your number is unique to you and will NEVER be repeated. So we can have a million “Akosua Kyerewaa Nkansah” but each of them will have a DIFFERENT, UNIQUE number
– your name, basic data, and the National ID number is also tied to your biometric data, including your fingerprints and Iris information collected on registration. Theoretically therefore, no one should be able to pretend to be/impersonate you, even if you share name, age, date of birth, height, gender, home address etc
– this basic information is what will be kept in the National ID Database, represented by the “Centre Circle” in my sketch

In effect, the National ID system will host a national database which will be the single unique source of identity verification for all residents of Ghana.

 

 

2. An integrated “Data Warehouse of [other] Databases using the National ID system as a unique identifier

Eventually, as you can see from my amateurish sketch, other ‘service providers’, private and public, verified and approved with the right authorizations, will connect to the National ID database for the purpose of verifying your identity in providing their services to you.

Following conventional standards, these entities will collect and host service-relevant data (e.g. NHIS = Medical Data, SSNIT = Pension Records, GRA = Tax Records etc), using your unique National ID number to link back to the National Database. In effect, you cannot be “Kwesi Mensah” with ID No. XYZ1015 at GRA, and be “Kwesi Mensah” with ID No. 5101ZYX at SSNIT. You will be the same person across ALL service points.

Together with the Centre/National ID Database, this forms ONE NATIONAL DATABASE.

 

 

3. How the “National Database” will work (again, see my sketch, especially where I’ve mentioned “Internal”)

Let’s look at it like a Spokes-and-Wheel structure. The National ID Database will host all the basic biometric and identification data. It will be at the CENTRE.

NHIS will hold medical records (as a spoke) and connect to the National ID database. The Police will hold criminal and related records and connected, as a spoke, to the National ID database. SSNIT will hold pension records and connect similarly. The Banks will hold financial records etc.

Your bank will still give you an account number, linked to your National ID. Other service providers like SSNIT, NHIS, GRA etc will (may choose to) give you unique numbers they use internally but you will not need to remember them as these internal numbers will be linked to your National ID number. All you’ll need, for example, when you visit SSNIT will be to quote your national ID number and they will use that to call up your data.

Together, this represent a single unified record for each individual, with all the necessary redundancies, need to know/use rights and restrictions, prevention of single-point-of-failure etc as covered by the Data Protection Act and related protocols and treaties in place.

Look at it as a distributed database architecture but unified by one source: the National ID database.

I hope my layman’s attempt has been useful.

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