Growing concern over Kenya's Huduma roll out

23 August 2019

Computing

Digital rights advocacy group, Paradigm Initiative (PI) has added its voice to growing concern over privacy related to a bill before the Kenyan Parliament for the roll out of a single number linked to residents' personal information, including biometric and demographic data in digital form.

Rebecca Ryakitimbo, PI's Google Policy Fellow, East Africa, said the Huduma number is governed by an Act that supports the introduction of a National Integrated Management System to maintain a national population register for all persons within Kenya, including foreigners.

It is designed to ease identification processes and public service delivery.

However, human rights-focused organisations - including the Nubian Rights Forum, Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, claim that Huduma violates the right to privacy, equality and public participation, amongst other rights.

PI wants parliament to look at the Bill's implication to the right to privacy and ensure it encompasses data protection, provides for principles of fairness and transparency, and does not deny residents access to services by establishing several de-facto requirements.

The organisation made the call following recent developments in Nigeria, where it failed to legally compel the country's National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to suspend the implementation of its Digital Identity Systems, pending the introduction of a comprehensive data protection law to address identified security lapses and privacy concerns. Read the full article on ITWeb here