When the reports on some census enumerators threatening Kenyans who refuse to give their ID and passport numbers during the 2019 census reached Amnesty International, they were quick to remind the government that every person has the right to privacy. That Kenyans have the right not to answer questions which will give information about their private affairs which they might not want to be unnecessarily revealed.
Henceforth, Kenyans should report to them for assistance and the human rights will treat information received regarding the threats with strict measures. Responding to the matter on data protection by Amnesty International, government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said ID card numbers are requested for the purpose of verification and authentication and that the information is not aimed at monitoring persons’ activities. He also confirmed that Kenyans will be asked whether or not they have registered for Huduma Namba or not during the process.
But Amnesty has maintained that introduction of questions on Huduma Namba, Passport Namba and ID registration is not within the realms pf the matters contemplated in the Statistics Act. A simple Yes or No on whether one has a passport or an ID will be enough to know how many have these documents with them and collection of unique identifiers is totally unnecessary, as it seems t conflate the purpose of a census and the role of Kenya National Bureau If Statistics with the role of Persons and the Department of Immigrations registration of persons.
“We remind the government of Kenya of its constitutional duty to uphold the rights to privacy for all persons. The collection of vast amounts of personal Data without a comprehensive Data Protection law is not in the interest of people.
“We reiterate our understanding of Census as a vital policy-making and public resource allocation. Notwithstanding our deep concerns, we hope the census proceed effectively and allows all persons to safely and voluntarily contribute to this national exercise,” read a part of the statement from the Amnesty.