A friend if mine recently returned form Dubai after being out of the country for the last 4 years, so she had to re activate all her banking profiles again.
Things are a little simpler nowadays in as much as you can open a bank account online, which she did.
However, they could not authenticate her online and she had to go into the bank itself. At the bank, they scanned her fingerprints ( a very new concept to me as I have ever been asked for my fingerprint scan at the bank – but then I avoid banks like the plague). Only to find that her fingerprints do not match those on the Home Affairs database of our country (South Africa).
As a result she had to go to the Home Affairs department with a letter from the bank and they had to take new finger prints and issue her with a new ID document.
At first I thought how clever. But then on second thoughts I was a little pissed off.
What gives Home Affairs the right to share my information with banks or any other institution? I understand the necessity of being on a national database from an identification point if view. They issue me with an ID document which I present when required to the relevant institution.
I have serious issues with these institutions accessing my information without my permission though.
My ex said he thought that perhaps we gave blanket permission for the government database to be shared and perhaps when we opened a bank account we agreed for them to be able to verify our identity with the national government database. But quite honestly I have a real problem with this. How can I give the government blanket permission to share my information? And what right does the bank have to access this information when I have a government issued ID document which I present on request to those I choose to show it to.
I can understand having my information available to certain government institutions where my safety is concerned. But sharing my information with third party institutions certainly does not have my blessing.
Yes one could argue that it makes life simpler. With all this information being shared and easily available, it is easier to verify or authenticate your identity, especially when opening up accounts etc. But I want to choose when and how and with who my information is shared – and not blanket approval either.
As far as I am concerned, this also makes identity theft so much easier if non-government institutions can access my information. The other question that comes to mind is how does the government actually verify that the bank has my approval to access the information in the first place – do they ask for signed proof perhaps? It is all a little dodgy to me and does not have my blessing.
Let me know your thoughts on this. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am.