Huduma Namba: Kenya court halts biometric ID over data fears

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.

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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