The high court declares the Huduma Namba rollout illegal on the basis of the failure of the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment. Huduma Namba is a multi-million government project which integrates data for all persons living in Kenya. The ruling will not affect mass voter registration.
Who are the petitioners for the Huduma card rollout?
Prof. Yash Pal Ghai and a lobby group (Katiba Institute), petitioned the high court to stop the government of Kenya from rolling out Huduma Namba. In his petition, Prof. Ghai argued that the government did not conduct a data protection impact assessment.
Prof. Ghai pointed out key data protection issues such as data privacy, data loss, and locking out Kenyans who did not have national identity cards from getting Huduma cards.
The lobby group said that rolling out Huduma Namba would breach the right to privacy under Article 31 of the data protection act, 2019.
The assessment objective is to identify risks that may arise from the use of the captured data.
Ruling for Huduma Namba petition.
On October 14, 2021, Justice Jarius Ngaah ruled that the rollout of Huduma Namba was illegal.
In his ruling, he points out that by rolling out Huduma Namba the government will breach the data protection act.
The judge ordered the government to conduct a data impact assessment before rolling out the Huduma card.
He denied the lobby groups’ plea to have the registration exercise done afresh.
What is Huduma Namba?
Huduma Namba is a number meant to replace the national identity (ID) number. Huduma Namba pools data from national ID, passport, driving license, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) together.
For easy access by government agencies and private corporations, the Integrated Population Registration System stores Huduma Namba data.
Huduma Namba was launched on April 2, 2019, by the president, and the insurance of Huduma cards started in December 2020.