RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Let's still roll out Huduma Namba

In Summary

• The Court has ruled that the rollout of Huduma Namba cards is illegal because it could infringe the right to privacy

• Huduma Namba seems to replace and consolidate all existing forms of ID on a single card

Printed Huduma Namba Cards on January 19, 2021.
Printed Huduma Namba Cards on January 19, 2021.
Image: FILE

Last week a court ruled that the rollout of Huduma Namba was unconstitutional because it did not protect the right to privacy.

The ruling was in response to a suit brought by the otherwise excellent Katiba Institute stating that government should have conducted a data impact assessment before introducing Huduma Namba.

The famous British author Charles Dickens wrote "the law is an ass" in the nineteenth century. That seems true in this case.

Personal data should be protected and surveillance of the individual minimised. We don't want Big Brother watching our every move.

But the Huduma Namba cards only replace and consolidate existing cards such as national ID, driving licence and voters ID. The Huduma Namba is not harvesting any additional information about individual citizens.

Moreover, Google and Facebook already collect huge amounts of information about virtually everyone on the planet. Google knows where you are reading these words right now, and will remember.

In comparison, Huduma Namba is trivial. Government should both appeal the ruling but also swiftly carry out the data impact assessment so that citizens can enjoy the convenience of a consolidated single ID card as soon as possible.

Quote of the day: "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."

John Dewey
The American philosopher was born on October 20, 1859