Kenya’s technology minister, Joe Mucheru, has revealed that the country’s new controversial Huduma Number Identification System is built on the blockchain.
Huduma Number, which translates to Service Number, is the Kenyan Government’s idea to introduce a single identity number and card system that can help to improve service access and delivery to citizens.
Registrations that will be harmonized into ONE Huduma Number include:
√ Registration and replacement of ID Card √ Application and renewal of Driving License √ Registration for Passport and Alien Card √ Registration for NHIF and NSSF cards √ Registration for Birth and Death Certificates
Some of the information captured by the card include biometric information fingerprints, and of course, personal details.
Speaking at a Kenyan radio show, the Cabinet Minister reiterated that a person’s details cannot be changed once entered since the blockchain is immutable.
The Minister added that a full history of a person’s activity is available on the blockchain which is necessary for accountability and auditing. Kenya is notorious for corrupt wealth acquisition and according to the Minister, the blockchain would be used to check a trail of how citizens acquired their wealth.
The implementation of the Huduma Number system however has been stopped by the court system in Kenya, citing poor data protection of user data in the country. Nonetheless millions of Kenyans have had their cards made and their data is held on a blockchain.
Its not clear how open the blockhain would be to scrutiny but it can be seen from the card that it is supported by MasterCard, potentially acting as a debit card. While the Kenyan government has been accused of violating the country’s Data Protection Act, the United Nations has urged countries to adopt digital identification.
This initiative is part of the much wider Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) which will see all government services integrated for easier management.