Kenya’s National Integrated Identity Management System: Briefing Paper
Source: Open Society Justice Initiative
What is NIIMS?
The National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) is a system intended to create and operate a national population register as a single source of information about Kenyan citizens and foreigners resident in the country.
What is the purpose of NIIMS?
NIIMS is not only a population register. Government agencies and private companies collect and store personal information for many different reasons, including improvement of service delivery, establishment of social networks, or as part of a business model (i.e. Facebook). Many countries are transitioning to digital registries that – just like their analog equivalents – serve a variety of different functions. Countries also administer civil registration (birth and death registration) and collect other vital statistics (e.g. marriage and divorce) on their populations throughout an individual life cycle. Whether or not they are digital, civil registries can be distinguished from population registries because they are continuously updated and their purpose is to document a specific, limited set of life events. NIIMS will collect a “snapshot” of the population, including biometrics, and link that information with other functional databases. Therefore, the Government of Kenya is proposing to collect new personal information on all citizens and resident foreigners, and to link those records with existing data held by separate government agencies for a particular purpose (e.g. land records, social welfare and school enrolment records).
•The Kenyan public has no way to assess the quality or security of the information in the government registries that will be linked to NIIMS. The Government of Kenya has not made public any information concerning its own assessment of the accuracy of the information contained in databases/registries that will be linked to NIIMS, what will be done in the case of duplicate/conflicting records, or how to rectify incorrect information.
•Access to public services under NIIMS. The Government of Kenya has announced that registration in NIIMS will be required in order to access all public services, effectively leaving no option to opt out of the system.
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