Civil society groups want the government to assure Kenyans that personal information provided to obtain a unique personal identification code is private and secure.
Speaking after a consultative meeting with Immigration and Citizen Services Minister Julius Bitok, the group expressed concern and vigilance about the potential for data misuse.
Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton said human rights organizations wanted to ensure that the design of unique personal identifiers and third-generation identifiers was based on three key principles:
data privacy, inclusion of marginalized communities, and public trust.
“With the introduction of the Data Protection Act, we are perhaps four decades ahead of European law. With the Kenya Kwanza government announcing that digitalization will be how they plan to deliver services and digitizing over 5,000 services, we find ourselves in a different space in terms of quality,” Irungu said. “One of the challenges we face is trust and we want to ensure that Kenyans understand and are aware of the opportunities of this digital platform.”
However, PS Bitok assured Kenyans that the numbers and data would be safe, adding that a task force had been established to continue dialogue on unique personal identifiers.
“Through the National Digital Identity, the government will ensure the data security of Kenyans because we will have a system that ensures that every document you have is authentic and every time you want to make a transaction. translate, you will have 'documentation of who you are,'" Bitok said.
At the end of the meeting, the government and civil society committed to carrying out more public education to raise awareness about the proposed digital identity.
“The aim is to reach out to civil society and get their input to make the process inclusive. We want Kenyans from all walks of life to have the opportunity to give their views and comments,” the PS said. PS Bitok reiterated the need to revise current identification systems to align with international standards, noting that the current identification and registration ecosystem is outdated and has been nearly 30 years.