The promised Nigerian National ID card was finally launched this week and as good as the intentions may have been, there may be more to it than meets the eye.
Firstly, having all Nigerians use their ID cards for payment processing on one hand is good, but subscribing everyone to MasterCard, with all their information accessible to them, can have serious security implications. Every Nigerian that has come of age MUST have a National ID card, unfortunately, we all MUST now use MasterCard and carry its logo about if we want to have that ID card. It is like forcing everyone of age to use a bank compulsorily or fly one Airline company, since no competitors exist . That’s cruel. What happens to your privacy? It is handed over to an American profit making company. In life, if you start having issues with Bank A, you simply move to Bank B. If a telecoms network is giving you problems you simply port to another, if MasterCard begins to annoy you, where do you go, since it is an integral part, embedded in our National ID card?
Extracts from Wikipedia reveals that…
“MasterCard, along with Visa, engaged in systematic parallel exclusion against American Express during the 1980s and 1990s. MasterCard used exclusivity clauses in its contracts and blacklists to prevent banks from doing business with American Express. Such exclusionary clauses and other written evidence was used by the United States Department of Justice in regulatory actions against MasterCard and Visa. Discover has sued MasterCard for similar issues.
In 1996 about 4 million merchants sued MasterCard in federal court for making them accept debit cards if they wanted to accept credit cards and dramatically increasing credit card swipe fees. This case was settled with a multi-billion dollar payment in 2003. This was the largest anti-trust award in history.
In 1998, the Department of Justice sued MasterCard over rules prohibiting their issuing banks from doing business with American Express or Discover. The Department of Justice won in 2001 and the verdict withstood appeal. American Express also filed suit
On August 23, 2001, MasterCard International Inc. was sued for violating of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
On November 15, 2004, MasterCard Inc. paid damages to American Express, due to anti competitive practices that prevented American Express from issuing cards through U.S. banks, and paid 1.8 billion dollars for settlement.
The European Union has repeatedly criticised MasterCard for monopolistic trade practices
WikiLeaks published documents showing that American authorities lobbied Russia to defend the interests of Visa and MasterCard. In response MasterCard blocked payments to WikiLeaks. Members of the European Parliament expressed concern that payments from European citizens to a European corporation could apparently be blocked by the United States, and called for a further reduction in the dominance of Visa and MasterCard in the European payment system”
…And here we are giving MasterCard DOMINACE, that is even embedded in our National Identity card. This is obviously a grave error on the part of the Nigerian Identity Management Commission, to subject all citizens that are 16 and above to MasterCard without choice.
Having a National ID is a good policy, integrating it with payment processing is also a good thing, however, embedding MasterCard’s logo on it is a bad thing and worse still is the lack of choice for Nigerians who may choose not to use MasterCard for whatever reasons. There is no competition and this monopoly gives MasterCard dominance which is dangerous.
It is a known fact that if you can control the economy of a nation, you can control wealth and no nation’s economy can exist without payment processing of some sort. Payment processing is linked to customer details, in this case, the customers are every Nigerian that is age 16 and above, carrying a National ID card. Whether you like it or not, you logically must carry a MasterCard payment chip if you claim to be a Nigerian of at least 16 years old. This is the extent to which MasterCard is being empowered.
In December 2010, MasterCard blocked all payments to WikiLeaks due to claims that they engage in illegal activity. In a response, a group of online activists calling themselves “Anonymous” organised a denial-of-service attack; as a result, the MasterCard website experienced downtime on December 8–9, 2010. On December 9, 2010 the servers of MasterCard underwent a massive attack as part of an Operation Avenge Assange for closing down payments of whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks. According to several news sites, security of thousands of credit cards was compromised during that attack due to a phishing-site set up by the attackers. However, MasterCard denied this, stating that “cardholder account data has not been placed at risk”
Read more here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MasterCard
The sovereignty of Nigeria is being sold out, right now. I don’t know if the authorities know what they are doing exactly, but people should at least have the freedom to carry a Nigerian ID card without necessarily being coerced into MasterCard affiliation, which should be a thing of choice. What option does a Nigerian who wants to have a National ID without any MasterCard affiliation have? Someone should please define treason. We are Nigerian citizens, not MasterCard citizens.