High Court declares Huduma Namba rollout illegal

By , People Daily Digital
Thursday, October 14th, 2021 11:45 | < 1 min read
Kiambu county resident Edwin Githuka (left) receives his Huduma Namba card from Interior CS Fred Matiang’i at the County Commissioner’s office in Kiambu town yesterday.Looking on from left Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga, Interior CAS Moffat Kangi and Data Commissioner Emmaculate Kassait. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

High court sitting in Nairobi on Thursday morning quashed the decision by the state to roll out Huduma number cards ruling that it was illegal.

In his judgement, Justice Jairus Ngaah faulted the government for not conducting a data protection impact assessment before rolling out Huduma Number cards last year.

“An order is hereby issued quashing the government decision of November 18, 2020, to roll out Huduma cards for being ultra vires of the data protection act 2019,” Ngaah ruled.

The High Court has also ordered the government to carry out the impact assessment before rolling out the Huduma cards.

“Order of mandamus is hereby issued compelling the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with section 31 of the data protection act before processing of data and rolling out the Huduma cards,” the Judge ordered.

The decision comes after Katiba Institute and law scholar Yash Pal Ghai challenged the roll-out of Huduma Namba cards over lack of guarantees of theft or misuse of Kenyans’ personal information.

The lobby group and Prof Ghai argued that the State failed to subject the fresh registration of Kenyans to data protection impact assessment (DPIA) — a requirement under the law.

The assessment is aimed at flagging risks that could reveal breaches of privacy, loss of data and unlawful use of information like names, date of birth, postcode and residences.

Currently, the majority of Kenyans have received Huduma Namba cards after the rollout of the same. The current national identity cards will be invalidated in December this year.

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