To Replace the 11-digit NIN, FG Introduces a Digital Token

The federal government has introduced a virtual national identification number (NIN) token.

The NIN will be replaced by digital tokens made up of 16 alphabets and numbers beginning in January 2022.

On Wednesday, December 22, 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. The goal of NIN tokenization is to protect citizens’ personal information.

Virtual NIN

Pantami stated that Nigerians can use the virtual NIN when verifying their identity with an agent or enterprise that requires them to confirm their identity before providing them with a service (banks, airports, shopping delivery, among others).

He also mentioned that virtual NIN tokens are merchant-specific and have a set expiration date (usually 72 hours). That is, a token generated for company A cannot be used or verified by company B.

Pantami, who was represented at the event by NIMC Director-General Aliyu Aziz, stated:

“The Federal Government has adopted the solution to protect the privacy of individuals’ personally identifiable information during verification transactions and to reduce instances of illegal NIN retrieval, usage, 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 aims to provide enhanced data protection for the personal information of people who have registered in the National Identity Database (NIDB) and been assigned a NIN.”

“The Improved NIN Slip, USerID, MobileID, NIN hashing, and the issuance of a unique virtual NIN by the ID holder to anyone who wishes to verify their identity are among the resources for the protection of this sensitive data.”

“The primary objective of NIN Tokenization is to provide a coded representation (“pseudonymization”) of the actual NIN that another party verifying the registered person’s identity cannot retain and use in a way that compromises the individual’s data privacy.”

“Depending on the use case, this could be through the hash contained in the Improved NIN Slip, the two varying hashes contained in the MobileID application, the UserID (which is instantly available to anyone issued a NIN, regardless of whether they have a device or not), and, of course, the one-time use Virtual NIN token.”

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