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What is Tunisia’s Unique Identifier, and Why is it Being Pushed Now?

– Access Now

In this opinion piece for Access Now, Emna Sayadi and Carolyn Tackett question Tunisia’s rush to implement its “Digital Tunisia 2020” plan and the use of a unique identifier system for nationals

Sayadi and Tackett acknowledge the government’s positive intentions to improve nationals’ experiences when interacting with the government, and protect citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, but question the lack of civil society consultations or nationals’ input.

“This new system aims to reduce the number of national and sectoral information systems, and facilitate the process of establishing a unified mechanism for online administrative services. In other words, the unique identifier system will unify the information about Tunisian citizens that exists in multiple administrative services, but in doing so, it will increase the risk of unlawful access.”

Sayadi and Tackett urge the Tunisian government to share more information about the unique identifier system, put a robust data protection framework in place, and ensure it meets the needs of citizens and other nationals.

In defining the technical aspects of this project, the Ministry of Local Affairs needs to avoid a centralized approach and ensure that the unique identifier’s platform is based on models for secure communications, including providing end-to-end encrypted traffic as far as possible

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