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Kenya court halts biometric ID over data fears

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Huduma Namba: Kenya court halts biometric ID over data fears

A Kenyan woman being registered for the Huduma Namba scheme in May last year
Image captionThe government said it was mandatory to register for a Huduma Namba

Kenya’s High Court has halted a controversial biometric ID scheme until new data protection laws are enacted.

Sensitive information, such as contact details, fingerprints and a person’s profession, was collected last year.

The idea was to integrate all the data the government has about an individual on various systems under one overarching ID number.

The judges ruled the move was constitutional as long as that information was properly protected.

In future Kenyan adults will need this new ID to access any government service, such as getting treatment at state hospitals, marrying or filing their tax returns

A data protection act was passed in November, which will see the creation of a data commission.

But it is not clear how long it will take for this body to become operational and for the appointment of a commissioner to head it, reports the BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi from the capital, Nairobi.

A person having their fingerprints taken as part of the Huduma Namba scheme last year
Image captionFingerprints were taken as part of the registration last year

Until then the rollout of the scheme, known as Huduma Namba, has been put on hold by the panel of three judges.

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