Government, Civil Society Agree On Joint Digitization Awareness Plan – Eagle News Feed
The government and civil society Wednesday agreed to a joint public sensitization campaign on the planned massive digitization of essential registration services.
The creation of a joint working group arrived at a consultative forum between the government and representatives from 25 civil societies that discussed concerns around privacy and the security of data that will be harvested during the registration.
Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Bitok who hosted the meeting in Nairobi said the government is keen to secure stakeholders’ support in the planned digitization of over 5000 services to avoid implementation challenges experienced during previous digitization projects.
“We are committed to partnering with civil society. We are aware of the challenges the government went through during the Huduma Namba rollout.”
“The price of failure was too high due to avoidable differences of opinion and tactics. We want to walk together to avoid unnecessary litigation and roadblocks that will negatively impact service delivery,” he said.
Bitok was responding to concerns voiced by Amnesty International Kenya Director Irungu Houghton who sought assurances that the envisaged rollout will be preceded by a data impact assessment, data protection mechanisms and elaborate public and other stakeholders’ involvement.
“We need to make it possible for the public to be aware of what is happening so that they can participate fully; so that they can give feedback so that the exercise that has been mandated by the President moves with speed, depth and integrity in regards to the Data Protection Act,” Houghton said.
Data Protection Commissioner Immaculate Kassait, who was in attendance, said the country stood to gain from the full implementation of the Data Protection Act as it will mitigate investors’ concerns around identity theft and the security of their investments.
Besides government representatives, the working group members will represent over 25 groups and will be mainly drawn from civil societies that are active in the registration of citizens and human rights groups.
It will focus on public awareness of issues around digital registration and the rationale of the program and draw an engagement plan for stakeholders’ consultative forums while also providing channels for feedback on pertinent issues.
Its immediate agenda will be to draw a consultative plan for the rollout of the Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) that the government plans to launch in April and the third generation ID, the National Digital Identifier (NDI).
Among the groups represented in the meeting were Amnesty International, Transparency International, Article 19, Katiba Institute, Mzalendo Trust, Open Institute, Nubian Rights forum, Siasa Place and the Lawyers Hub among others.