Kenya’s controversial identity management system given the go-ahead, pending an implementation plan

by | Jan 31, 2020

Kenya’s highly controversial National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), otherwise known as Huduma Namba has just been given the go ahead to collect personal data in the country, pending an implementation plan that does not infringe on the rights to privacy or discriminate against minorities.

Controversy around the system began due to the Kenyan government’s insistence on collecting unnecessary and intrusive data, such as DNA and GPS coordinates, amongst other information. The Kenyan government proposed that those who failed to register with the identity management system would be denied certain services. Amongst other things, they would not be able to acquire a passport, register to vote or even get married.

Concerned stakeholders such as the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Nubian Rights Forum and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) brought a petition against the government concerning the system. They alleged that Huduma Namba infringes on the right to privacy and that its very existence is unconstitutional.

The court in Kenya ruled that although the government has been given the green light to implement the system, the East African nation would not do so until it could put comprehensive regulations in place to address concerns around privacy & discrimination.

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The Kenyan High court also declared that declared that the collection of DNA and GPS information as null and void and in conflict with the Kenya constitution.

 

“Collection of DNA & GPS for purposes of identification is intrusive and unnecessary to the extent it is not authorized by anchoring legislation is unconstitutional,” the court ruled.

Udoka Chiefe
Udoka Chiefe

Writer | Learner| Technologist

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