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Testing of biometric registration plan in Kenya begins

A pilot project to test the US$60M biometric registration plan to enroll more than 50 million Kenyans in a digital database labelled the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) was launched this week in 15 counties and will see each citizen given a unique identification code known as Huduma Namba, Mwakilishi reports.

The pilot will be followed by a mass biometric registration exercise, expected to begin March 18, of Kenyans from the age of six and of foreigners living and working in the country.

With a Huduma Namba code citizens will not be required to carry ID, passport, driver’s license or other identity documents to access essential government services.

When the biometric registration project was announced last year 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.

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

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