A National Identity Number (NIN) virtual token has been introduced by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The virtual NIN is a tokenised version of an individual’s NIN, which another party verifying the number cannot retain and use. And this new option is guaranteed to ensure that the individual’s data privacy is not at risk.
The token generated lasts only 72 hours.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami told stakeholders workshop on the ‘NIN Tokenisation Solution’ organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Wednesday in Abuja that said NIN tokenisation is aimed at protecting the personal information of citizens.
He explained that Nigerians can use the virtual NIN when verifying their identity with an agent or enterprise that needs to confirm their identity before offering them a service. These include banks, airports and shopping delivery.
The full implementation of the virtual NIN would begin on New Year day 2022.
“The Federal Government has adopted the solution to ensure the privacy of personally identifiable information of individuals during verification transactions and to reduce incidences of illegal retrieval, usage, transfer, and storage of NIN”. Pantami said.
Pantami, who was represented by NIMC Director-General, Aliyu Aziz explained that “the NIN Tokenisation solution is a feature of the NIN Verification Service (NVS) which is aimed at providing enhanced data protection for the personal information of persons registered into the National Identity Database (NIDB) and issued a NIN.
“The purpose of the NIN Tokenisation is to provide a coded representation (“pseudonymisation”) of the actual NIN for which another party verifying the identity of the registered person cannot retain and use in a way that puts the individual’s data privacy at risk.
“Depending on the use cases, this may be via the hash contained in the Improved NIN Slip, the two varying hashes contained in the MobileID application, the UserID (which is available instantly to anyone issued a NIN, irrespective of whether they have a device or not), and of course, the one-time use Virtual NIN token”.
Pantami said virtual NIN tokens are merchant-specific and expire after a set period of time.
This means that a token generated for company A cannot be used or verified by company B.
Also speaking at the event, Tunji Durodola, technical consultant of NIMC, said the digital token was designed to replace the 11-digit NIN for everyday usage.
He said NIN had been shared and stored by various entities mostly without the knowledge or consent of the ID holder or NIMC, the custodian of identity in Nigeria.
To get the virtual NIN, a person must have a NIN issued by NIMC, a mobile number registered in Nigeria and linked to your NIN.
It can be generated via the MWS: NIMC MobileID app or via USSD (*346*3*YourNIN*AgentCode#)