Kenya enacts law to support digital DNA identification

21 Jan 2019

Kenya has enacted amendments to its national identification law that will enable the state to collect more precise data when issuing identification documents. These include digital Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), GPS coordinates of residential addresses, retina and iris pattern, voice waves and earlobe pattern. Previously, persons were required to register their fingerprints, facial image, postal address and place of birth. The newly signed law will help to build a digital ID system known as National Integrated Identity Management System that will centralise birth, ID, refugee, death, driving licences and passport records.

in 2016 having a higher rate of registration of persons than most Sub-Saharan African nations. However, key gaps identified included having numerous identification databases as well as lack of a privacy and data protection framework. Although there are data protection Bills, the country is yet to enact a comprehensive privacy law.

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Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

Broadly speaking, digital signatures are linked to the authentication of individuals on the Internet, which affects many aspects, including jurisdiction, cybercrime, and e-commerce. The use of digital signatures should contribute to building trust on the Internet.


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