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Kenya set to launch national biometric registration to improve government services and security

Kenya set to launch national biometric registration to improve government services and security

Kenya’s Federal Government will begin a national biometric registration program this year, at an estimated cost of Sh3 billion (US$30 million), to improve government planning, service delivery, and security, Mwakilishi reports.

Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru said that the data gathered in the registration will include GPS coordinates for home addresses, fingerprints, hand and earlobe geometry, retina and iris scans, and voice samples. He also said that it will be conducted by the Interior Ministry.

The new system will provide a single source of personal information of all Kenyans and registered foreigners.
“One of the initiatives is registering all the 45 million Kenyans biometrically so that everyone will have a single and unique identity,” Mucheru said. “Today you have your ID which is given by the National Registration Bureau, the driving licence, passport and others.”

“We want to make sure that from cradle one has a unique ID and is able to access all government services since one can be identified,” added Mucheru.

A unique device for capturing infant biometrics, developed by researchers at the UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute, will be used in research carried out in Kenya by Paul Macharia this year, with the goal of establishing the effectiveness of biometrics for infant identification.

A report released earlier this year suggests that Kenya needs data protection legislation to operationalize the right to privacy enshrined in the country’s constitution.

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