Bill prepared to address NIIMS data privacy worries, says President Uhuru

President Uhuru Kenyatta registering for Huduma Namba. (Photo/PSCU)
President Uhuru Kenyatta registering for Huduma Namba. (Photo/PSCU)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has dispelled fears concerning data privacy in the ongoing National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) registration. Some Kenyans still have reservations concerning the privacy of their personal information, stored in the NIIMS database, after the biometric registration process. “These are valid concerns,” said President Kenyatta, “I want to assure you we are putting in place the necessary legal safeguards to protect you.”

Speaking in Masii, Machakos County during the launch of the Huduma Namba registration exercise, he said currently there is a Bill being drafted to address these concerns, “Once passed by parliament the law will give you the right to obtain a copy of the particulars of your personal data in the NIIMS database, restrict data sharing and ensure security of data against unauthorized access.” The Head of State has affirmed the importance of the registration exercise, which the government stipulates should take 45 days, even after the High Court suspended the timeline scale and mandatory regsitation.

He has directed the Interior Ministry to ensure all Kenyans are registered in 45 days. He further pointed out that the data collected is vital for the government’s planning, saying they need accurate, comprehensive and upto date records which is handy in sectors like health and monitoring the progress of the SDGs among other factors. He said the successful data collection will facilitate the fast implementation of the Big Four Agenda, citing a case where farmers will be able to receive a fairer allocation of subsidizied farm input as a result of accurate data, and also an improvement in transparency in NHIF managment.

The Huduma Namba will also eliminate ghost workers, according to the President, and tangible success has already been witnessed in the National Police Service which was under an earlier separate exercise, where ghost workers-1,447 NPS officers and 1,048 AP officers and 153 DCI officers-were exposed by NIIMS.