The Nairobi High Court has declared the roll out of Huduma Namba uncostitutional during the Thursday October 14 sitting.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Jairus Ngaah, the government did not conduct a data protection impact assessment during the roll out of Huduma 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 judge ordered the government to conduct the 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 was reached following a petition that was filed by the Katiba Institute and law scholar Yash Pal Ghai challenging the roll out of the Huduma cards over lack of guarantees of theft or misuse of Kenyans’ personal information.
The petitioners argued that the government did not follow the law by failing to subject the fresh registration of Kenyans to Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).
“The Data Protection Act rights to privacy were guaranteed the moment the constitution was promulgated,” they argued.
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 according to the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.
The Huduma Namba project was initiated by the president in 2015 under the framework of National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).