The recently concluded Huduma Namba registration faced a lot of push back from various groups in the country, none more so than the Kenya Human Rights Commission who cited that the process lacked a proper and well laid framework for data protection.
The Huduma Namba registration is part of the governments plan to implement the National Intergrated Identity Management (NIIMS) that is meant to be a single source of a citizen’s data for ease of access to such information when offering government services and to be a pre-requisite for accessing government services. The government had initially planned to have the GPS and DNA data captured as well, but the court ruled against that, stating that such were conservatory orders.
The Huduma Namba and the NIIMS registration process rightfully faced opposition, said Linda Bonyo, CEO and Co-Founder Lawyers Hub Kenya, during a press briefing organized by the Kenya Human Rights Commission, on April 4.
“Good as the NIIMS is intended, it gives out too much of our (citizens’) data to the government and we all know that the government has failed to protect our data in the past,” she added.
Bonyo’s was a concern of data leakages and breaches that she mentioned can escalate to even international research being done by the data of unsuspecting citizens. She said that the government hitherto lacks a well laid Data protection Framework what makes Kenyans, her included unable to trust the intentions of the data collection activity.
Just a few days after the conclusion of the mass registration of the much maligned Huduma Namba registration process the government is coming under fire from Kenyans following a series of hackings that affected Several Kenyan government websites including:
- Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS),
- National Youth Service (NYS),
- Judicial Service Commission (JSC),
- Immigration department,
- Kenya Meat Commission,
- Petroleum Ministry,
- Refugees Affairs, among others.
The government websites were on Monday breached by a group of Indonesian hackers who proceeded to place their logo on the landing pages of the websites showing they had taken control of the platforms and a message that read: “Hacked by W4r10k, Kurd electronic team”.
Even though the ICT Authority managed to recover the websites Kenyans took to various social media platforms to raise their concerns once again on the inability of government to secure their systems; with many Kenyans on Twitter concerned that the NIIMS platform would be handled with the same level of negligence.
Some pointed to the Huduma Namba registration as an area of concern:
Official government websites including IFMIS have been hacked, yet this incompetent govt has promised you that your Huduma Namba info are safe. 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/7XOiNxzcDD
— Африканский (@ougomandela) June 3, 2019
Kenyans. If NYS, JSC, IFMIS among government websites hacked by Indonesian group
How safe will our credentials be in Huduma Namba system we have been threaten ever since? https://t.co/mhUcJlfB6D
— Derrick Ohato (@DerrickOhato) June 3, 2019
Some speculated that the hacks occurred due to governments lack of securing the websites:
1) I had mentioned this before. SSL certificate is as cheap as 50 USD. It is key in securing websites. Government sites wouldn't have been hacked by Kurd Electronic Team. Woi IFMIS ! #KOT pic.twitter.com/b6tJSeZ1KM
— Medika Medi (@MedikaMedi) June 3, 2019
One user was shocked at the ability of Kenyans to take such breaches lightly:
KENYAN government Websites hacked. And we don't even seem to be moved by this extensive terrorist attack pic.twitter.com/2BF0YgLtJk
— Lord Abraham Mutai (@ItsMutai) June 3, 2019
The big question here is: are kenyans right to be concerned? Have your say on the comment section.