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Technical Flaws, Illegalities Of Huduma Namba Exposed In Court

huduma namba
Huduma Namba. / Courtesy

The infamous government project of registering all citizens on the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) dubbed Huduma Namba, could be one of the biggest scandals of the Jubilee administration, it has emerged.

In court proceedings on Wednesday, it emerged that the data collected might not be protected by any law, and the government could share the data without your consent.

In a case filed by the Nubian community and Kenya National Humans Right Commission, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that the data could be shared to any government agency that required it.

Read: CS Matiang’i Drafts Bill To Make Huduma Namba Mandatory For Government Services

However, a disclaimer on the Huduma Namba application form that Kenyans had to agree to said that the information could be shared to third parties, without indicating the type of third parties. This means that the information can be shared to non-governmental agencies, without the consent of the owners.

“Dr Kibicho, you said that this person is required to understand that his information could be provided to an authorised agency. This is actually asking for consent that the information can go to another agency, correct?” asked Nubian community lawyer Yussuf Bashir.

“So long as that agency is authourised,” said Kibicho, adding that the government was even allowed to take the DNA.

The government is yet to prove the necessity of spending Ksh6 billion on a fresh registration process without enacting the data protection law.

Read: Huduma Namba Registration Assistants To Pay Additional Ksh16,000 Software Costs For Lost Kits

In September, an expert witness told court that the system used in Huduma Namba was archaic and prone to hacking. Anand Venkatanatayanan said there was nothing new in the technology.

“Kenya is historically known and hackers know the loopholes developers leave. What I see is in other systems, the technology is exactly what we have seen before,” said Mr Venkatanatayanan.

He had been asked to differentiate between the NIIMS structure and that of India’s similar system which is known as Aadhaar, during cross examination.

The case continues today.

Interior Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has already published a bill that will see the use of Huduma Namba mandatory for any Kenyan seeking government services.

The move by the government will ensure that it will be mandatory for all Kenyans to have Huduma Namba from December if the Huduma Namba Bill 2019 becomes law.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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