37. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the tender recently published on her Department’s website seeking the supply of facial image matching software to improve the performance of the SAFE registration process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19280/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The use of facial recognition technology has been successfully employed by my Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
My Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The normal digital photograph in JPEG format is captured during the SAFE registratio...

45. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of face biometric data records collected through the administration of the public services card that are held by her Department; and the security protocols and policies in place to prevent a leak or breach of data records, including biometric data records collected by her Department through the public services card system. (Question 19302/18 asked on 03 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Biometric information is information about the measurements of human body characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements and it is typically used for authentication purposes. The Public Services Card (PSC) does not store biometrics. While the card does store the person’s photograph and it appears on the card, it does not store the biometric or arit...

410. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 939 of 20 March 2018 if her Department holds biometric data on individuals in possession of a public services card in view of the fact that a recent e-tender (details supplied) for the provision of facial recognition software for the public services card explicitly states that the supplier must provide the tools and processes to migrate up to 4 million biographic and face biometric records from the legacy system database to the new system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18565/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The use of facial matching technology has been successfully employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
The Public Services Card does not store biometrics. While the card does store the person’s photograph and it appears on the card, it does not store the biometric or arithmetic templ...

411. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to set out the amount her Department expects to incur in costs with regard to the supply of facial image matching software over the duration of the initial contract; if she has included an option to extend the duration of the contract as per the request for tenders dated 20 April 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18572/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 411, 412, 414 and 416 together.
The use of facial matching technology has been successfully employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
My Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The normal digital ph...

412. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if processes will be added to the public services card renewal process that involve the use of facial recognition software; the reason this software will be required as part of a renewal of a card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18574/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 411, 412, 414 and 416 together.
The use of facial matching technology has been successfully employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
My Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The normal digital ph...

413. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of registrations to SAFE level 2 that have taken place since SAFE registration began in 2011; the number and or estimate of possible further persons that will require SAFE registration; the number of new SAFE level 2 registrations that are forecast per annum; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18575/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): There are 2.72 million adults registered to SAFE Level 2 (“SAFE2”), which is the minimum standard of identity authentication for issue of a Public Services Card. 
SAFE registrations to date in 2018 are averaging 10,000 people a week, the vast majority of whom complete registration to SAFE2 at the first appointment, or on a return appointment. On completion of the registration process, they are issued a Public Service...

414. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to outline the way in which a sample (details supplied) of 100,000 photographs will be chosen regarding the new facial recognition software that her Department is requesting tenders for; if persons will be contacted and asked to give consent to their image or photograph being used in this manner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18576/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 411, 412, 414 and 416 together.
The use of facial matching technology has been successfully employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
My Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The normal digital ph...

416. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to outline the reason facial image matching software is required as per her request for tenders of 20 April 2018; the way in which the software will be utilised by her Department; the products that will be used in conjunction with same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18601/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 411, 412, 414 and 416 together.
The use of facial matching technology has been successfully employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology.
My Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The normal digital ph...

418. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 939 of 20 March 2018, the purpose of the latest tender by her Department for facial recognition software; and her plans to expand the use of public service cards beyond SAFE level 2. (Question 18719/18 asked on 01 May 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The use of facial matching technology has been employed by the Department for a number of years. What is proposed, in the context of this competitive tender process, is a continuation and upgrade of this existing technology. This technology helps prevent and detect cases of suspected social welfare and identity fraud.
The Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. The...

571. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason agencies which refuse to accept the public services card as personal identification will accept a passport which cannot be obtained without the applicant producing a card (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17632/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): SAFE Level 2 (SAFE2) registration allows a person to verify their identity once not just for access to services provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection but also for an increasing number of public services provided by other State agencies – for example the Passport office. Once a person is registered to SAFE2 they can be issued with a Public Services Card (PSC). 
While it is a matter for...

591. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to make the public services card available to be used as identification with the Central Bank; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18098/18 asked on 24 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): At present, a Public Services Card (PSC) cannot be requested by any public or private body or person not included as a specified body in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). The Central Bank is not prescribed as a Specified Body under Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, so therefore cannot ask for or accept the Public Services Card as a proof of identification. T...

514. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if An Garda Síochána accepts the public services card as a form of identification for forms it administers and witnesses. (Question 15169/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I must point out that I, as Minister, have no responsibility to direct Garda policies in relation to administration or identification documentation. Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) vests full control of An Garda Síochána in the Garda Commissioner and I as Minister have no power to interfere or intervene in such matters.
However, I can advise the Deputy I have asked the Garda Commissioner to provide information o...

1397. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 544 of 8 March 2018 and 972 of 20 March 2018, the way in which customers with passports who collect their payments on a weekly basis in the post office authenticate identity to SAFE 2 standard for the purposes of enabling the collection of PSI data by post; and the location in which the existing photos utilised to complete the SAFE 2 process are obtained. (Question 15068/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department has operated a number of methods to SAFE register a person. One of these was via post where the customer had already successfully applied for and held a passport. 
In the case of the Passport Office data, the photograph is verified in a face-to-face interaction at the passport application stage. 
The postal method of registration was offered in the following circumstances
1. The customer was in receip...

1432. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an adoption certificate is still required for all public services card applications in view of recent media reports of a person who was awarded a public services card without an adoption certificate; if short form birth certificates are now acceptable for all applications; the impact of this on her Department’s SAFE 2 authentication process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15695/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The media reports about this case are incorrect. The certificate presented by the person concerned was, in fact, their adoption certificate, following which the SAFE registration was successfully completed.
A Public Services Card (PSC) may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 identity registration. The person’s Public Service Identity Dataset is verified as part of this process. Adopted peop...

581. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the specific section of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 that legislates for public services cards. (Question 13613/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): SAFE Level 2 registration is carried out by my Department and allows a person to verify their identity once, not just for access to services provided by the Department but also for an increasing number of public services. Once a person completes a SAFE 2 registration, they may be issued with a Public Services Card (PSC) as a physical token that proves they have had their identity verified to the SAFE 2 standard. 
It i...

596. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the exact date invitations to register for a public services card were first sent by her Department to persons who have been registered to SAFE 2 standard by the National Driver Licence Service; if the information used to identify persons who do not have a public services card but are SAFE authenticated and invite these persons to register for a card is obtained by her Department from the Road Safety Authority or the National Driver Licence Service; if a data sharing agreement exists between her Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Road Safety Authority or the National Driver Licence Service; and if so, the date of this agreement. (Question 14003/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) does not register its customers to SAFE 2 standard. However, it does authenticate customer identities in a face-to-face engagement, including the capture of a photograph.
In August 2017, my Department commenced inviting NDLS customers to complete SAFE 2 registration by post. Invites were only issued to customers whose Public Services Identity data, supplied to the NDLS, matc...

20. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if an end to the roll-out of the use of public services cards for more services provided by the State will be recommended until such time as concerns over the use of the card have been addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 13221/18 asked on 22 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The recent concerns raised in relation to the Public Services Card have been comprehensively addressed through the provision of communications and guidance to clarify exactly what data the card contains, what it is used for, and its legal basis.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, assisted by my Department, published a “Comprehensive Guide To SAFE Registration and The Public Services Card” last October,...

930. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the criteria when applying for a social services card (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11847/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card (PSC) may be issued to a person who has successfully completed a SAFE 2 registration. As part of the SAFE registration process, a person’s identity is verified, usually by means of acceptable photographic ID. 
Where an Irish citizen person does not have acceptable photographic ID, their identity may be verified by means of an interview process. 
ML10 forms are issued in certain circumstances by...

939. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to introduce public services cards with the ability to store biometric data; and if so, the legislation underpinning same. (Question 11971/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): My Department is implementing SAFE 2 registration on a phased basis with its customers and customers of other public services that require identity verification to a substantial level of assurance. It is a standard for establishing and verifying an individual’s identity for the purposes of accessing public services which was agreed by the Government in 2005
During SAFE registration, personal data is collected to ensur...

972. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 544 of 8 March 2018, the way in which and with whom a person might authenticate his or her identity in another face-to-face engagement; and the way in which the existing photographs utilised to complete the SAFE 2 process are acquired. (Question 12578/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In my response to Question No. 544 of 8 March 2018, I referred to cases, where a customer authenticates their identity in another face-to-face engagement, the Department may collect elements of the PSI data by post and, with the consent of the customer, will utilise existing photographs to complete the SAFE 2 process.
The other face-to-face engagements include: 
- Customers presenting at an NDLS office for a drivin...

544. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons that have been offered public services cards each year since 2011 that did not go through the SAFE 2 registration process; the way in which this offer was made; and the number of public services cards issued to persons in this category in each year since 2011. (Question 10839/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): A Public Services Card cannot be issued to a person unless they first complete a SAFE registration process.
My Department operates a number of methods to SAFE register a person. The usual method involves a combination of all of the following including:
- A face-to-face meeting at an Intreo Centre or a dedicated SAFE registration centre; 
- The collection and verification of the basic identity information known as the...

564. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to make it compulsory to have a public services card in order to access a range of services; the rationale for this; and the work being done to ensure that persons that do not have a public services card can still access the services they need. (Question 11076/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The purpose of SAFE registration is to verify a person’s identity to a substantial level of assurance. Once identity is verified, a Public Services Card can be issued. 
My Department makes it clear to our customers that they need to complete a SAFE registration to access, or continue to access, payments and entitlements. This is not an unreasonable condition given the value of payments made to customers on an annu...

587. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for mobile clinics in rural areas to issue public services cards (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11448/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Public Services Card Provision)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Department has a variety of arrangements in place to ensure that citizens can SAFE register and obtain a Public Services Card (PSC), irrespective of their location or place of residence. 
The majority of SAFE registrations are through attendance in person at the local INTREO Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. Customers may be invited to attend, or can make contact themselves to arrange an appointment or mak...

210. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for the expanded use of the public services card; the services that will require presentation of the card to access State services and products in each of the years 2018 to 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9456/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Public Services Card (PSC), and its online counterpart MyGovID, is the Government’s standard personal identity verification scheme, and it is core to delivering valuable public services to the people who need them in a secure and efficient manner.  The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is the lead implementation body for the production of the Public Services Card, the MyGovID electronic identity service...

689. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the forms of photographic identification a person can use to obtain a public services card. (Question 9782/18 asked on 27 Feb 2018 - Public Services Card)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): When a person attends for SAFE registration, they are asked to bring certain documents with them. The photographic identification requested depends on the nationality of the person concerned. 
Non-EEA nationals are required to present a current valid passport. EEA nationals (apart from Irish and UK nationals) are required to present either a current valid passport or a national ID card. UK nationals are required to pr...