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February 18, 2020 - 22:33
Cyprian Is Nyakundi
Tech

Why the Kenyan government ‘Huduma Namba’ Programme might be a threat to your privacy.

Earlier today the government of Kenya through the interior ministry while liaising with the ministry of ICT launched a pilot data collection program via a system called The National Integrated Identity Management System. NIIMS is a centralized digital population register that will be used as an authentic ‘single source of truth’ on person’s identity.

According to reports from the Immigration the new system will contain personal details of all nationals and foreigners of age 6 and above living within the territory of Kenya. The system is programmed to capture Bio metric data such as fingerprint, voice, DNA among others. The system will then issue out a unique identifier number called ‘Huduma Namba’ that will be used in getting Key government services.

A person who is not registered under the Huduma Namba programme will not access government services such as registration and replacements of ID card, application and renewal of driver’s license, NHIF, NSSF, Birth certificates, Cash transfers to the elderly, and subsidized farm inputs among others.

There is nothing wrong with the government collecting personal data of its citizen specifically for security reasons like fighting terrorism. However the data collected may at one point prove to be a greater threat to your privacy.

Having all users’ details at one place makes the system a primary target for hackers to be able to steal or manipulate such data if not highly secured. With all your details somebody can easily ruin you financially or socially by using your data to reset your passwords.

With this advanced technological era data breaches have been something of the norm with sensitive data’s such as passwords, emails, signatures, medical records, identification numbers finding themselves being auctioned at a popular dark web market site after serious breaches.

With data centralization taking the center stage on the NIIM system, netizens have raised major security concerns about the whole process. Most people have shown disapproval about the government’s attempt in collecting Personal information through The National Integrated Identity Management System as there is no clear measures put in place to prevent such sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

Kenyans needs reassurance about their data  safety.

It will be noted that almost all key government services can be acquired by just having a national identity card. That therefore leaves us with question regarding NIIMS rather than answers, What is the government going to do with the information? What proper mitigation of security are put in place to secure this data? Why is it so urgent that it can’t be done together with the 2019 census to so as to cut cost?



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