APSN Banner

Government plans to sell citizen's electronic ID data

Jakarta Post - May 18, 2011

Jakarta – The government plans to sell the citizen database enclosed in the electronic identification cards (e-KTP) system for business interests, an official says.

Reydonnyzar Moenek, Home Ministry spokesman, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the data could be used for business interests but only to see the distribution of certain characteristics of the Indonesian population.

"For example, if a milk brand needs data about infant distribution in Indonesia for marketing purposes, they can use the data. But we won't disclose private information," he said, adding that the government would charge those who were interested in using the data.

"We will discuss the mechanism further, but if it happens, the income from selling the database will be categorized as non-tax income," he added.

The database, Reydonnyzar continued, would not be disclosed without the central government's permission because the source code and the property rights belonged to them.

The Home Ministry intended to create a database tracking 27 different pieces of personal information including addresses, family members, birth dates, employment and education information.

The project requires Rp 5.9 trillion (US$690 million). The database will contain up-to-date information that is verified when citizens record their fingerprints at the subdistrict level, where they will be asked to check the accuracy of their personal data.

"With this system, every Indonesian citizen will only have one single identification number from when they are born until they die," Reydonnyzar said.

The government has been aiming to employ a single identification number for citizens to avoid inconsistent database issues that ministries often encounter.

A problem in the data inconsistency can be found in the number of low-income people in which the Health Ministry uses to budget Jamkesmas, the free health provision for low-income people. The government has allocated the program to 76.4 million people while the Central Statistics Board reported that the number dropped to 60.5 million.

Reydonnyzar said the single identification number could also hinder someone from possessing a double or fake ID card. "In the way, there is no way a terrorist can attain a fake ID with alias names," he said.

Reydonnyzar said the system could also prevent electorate manipulation. Targeting project completion by 2012, Reydonnyzar suggested that all citizens report to the neighborhood unit's leader as soon as possible to update their family certificate and get a single identification number, which is required to process an e-KTP.

Digital forensic expert Ruby Alamsyah said the government had to audit IT security first before implementing the system.

"The audit functions to find the system's vulnerability and then fix it, and repeat the audit process all over again to recheck. There's no such thing as a perfect IT system, but at least we can choose the system with lesser weaknesses," Ruby told the Post.

Ruby said the government had to use the latest technology to prevent identity theft or other possible crimes. "If we use old technology, especially technology that has been used in other countries before, there's a chance that a criminal already knows patterns and weaknesses," he said. (swd)