Bright Simons calls for chip-fixed National ID

An honorary vice president of IMANI Ghana, and president of mPedigree, Mr. Bright Simons, has expressed disquiet about Ghana’s piloted national Identity Card (ID), describing it as lacking critical features that makes it risk free.

According to him, the non-existence of an electronic chip in Ghana’s piloted national ID card is a clear indication of its weakness in modern technology.

Mr. Simons made the assertion during a Citi FM and a World Bank roundtable discussion held at the premises of the World Bank office in Accra, on the theme, “National Identification: A Panacea for Ghana’s social, economic and political development”

He maintained that there are high risks associated with national ID cards that do not have chips imbedded in them.

“It is important that we are aware as we embark on this process that there are risks. One of the things that I have noticed about the Ghana national ID card, at least the pilot version is that, it does not have an imbedded chip”, he said.

He explained that such a national ID card is expected to contain an embedded electronic chip to expand its capabilities.

“To me, the lack of an embedded electronic chip is very dangerous as far as am concerned. The way I understand it, the proposal is to use a 2D bar code as a way to extract the biometric data”.

He was of the view that for sufficient security, particularly for the inter-linking system, a national ID should have an electronic embedded chip that has read-write capabilities for critical analyses for access control.

On legal issues, Mr. Simons pointed out that the regulation seven of the LI that makes the card mandatory cannot stand the laws of Ghana.

“Though we don’t have civil libertarianism in this country, it is entirely possible that somebody challenging that regulation might defeat it in the Supreme Court”.

He stated that it would be difficult for a person who can adequately prove his or her citizenship outside the card to be denied welfare benefits or any other social benefits.

Also present at the event was Professor Ernest Dumor, a former National Identification Authority head, Dorothy K. Gordon, Director-General of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence, Franklin Cudjoe, president of IMANI Ghana, and financial analyst, Sidney Casely-Hayford.

About mPedigree

mPedigree uses mobile phones to secure pharmaceutical products against counterfeiting. They have also expanded into the textile and cosmetics industries in Nigeria and Ghana.

mPedigree (then mPedigree Network) was founded in 2007 by Ghanaian entrepreneur Bright Simons and has since expanded operations to 12 countries, with offices in nine.

They have hundreds of clients, including manufacturers of veterinary medicine, electrical products, baby food, cosmetics and high-yield seeds used in agriculture.

mPedigree sells software that manufacturers use to label individual packs of medication with a random 12-digit code hidden under a scratch-off rectangle on the packaging.

When individuals buys medicine, they can text the code to mPedigree for free for an instant reply indicating whether the product is authentic or counterfeit.

Today, mPedigree has its labels on more than 500 million drug packets with their major clients including the drug companies like AstraZeneca, Roche, and Sanofi.

By: Lawrence Segbefia/