Virtual national identity number (NIN) tokens have been introduced by the federal government.
From January 2022, digital tokens made up of 16 alphabets and numbers will replace the NIN.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, spoke at a stakeholders workshop on the ‘NIN Tokenization Solution’ organized by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja on Wednesday December 22. The goal of NIN tokenization is to secure citizens’ personal information.
Nigerians can use the virtual NIN to verify their identification with an agent or business that needs to verify their identity before providing them with a service, according to Pantami (banks, airports, shopping delivery, among others).
Virtual NIN tokens, he added, are merchant-specific and expire after a defined length of time (usually 72 hours). This means that a token created for company A will not be accepted or validated by company B.
Pantami, who was represented at the ceremony by Aliyu Aziz, director-general of the National Institute of Mental Health, said:
“The Federal Government has selected the solution to protect the privacy of individuals’ personally identifiable information during verification transactions and to limit the instances of unauthorized NIN retrieval, use, transfer, and storage.” The full implementation will begin on January 1, 2022.
“The NIN Tokenization solution is a feature of the NIN Verification Service (NVS), which is designed to provide greater data protection for the personal information of people who have been granted a NIN and have been registered in the National Identity Database (NIDB).”
“The Improved NIN Slip, USerID, and other resources for the security of this sensitive data include MobileID, NIN hashing, and the ID holder issuing a unique virtual NIN to anyone wishing to authenticate their identity.
“The goal of the NIN Tokenization is to create a coded representation (“pseudonymization”) of the actual NIN that another party validating the registered person’s identity cannot keep and use in a way that compromises the individual’s data privacy.”
“Depending on the use case, this may be via the Improved NIN Slip hash, the two varied hashes in the MobileID app, the UserID (which is available instantly to everyone issued a NIN, regardless of whether they have a device or not), and, of course, the one-time use Virtual NIN token.”