Eyes Will be Part of Kenya’s Digital ID Card

Eyes Will be Part of Kenya’s Digital ID Card

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The eyes iris and fingerprint recognition will form part of the country’s digital identity system in future ahead of the much-anticipated launch of Maisha Namba digital ID.
“Kenyans should be able to be identified digitally using their iris of fingerprints and can transact without the necessity of people struggling to identify who they are,” revealed President William Ruto, speaking during the launch of Kenya’s first smartphone assembling plant in Mavoko, Machakos County, on Monday, October 30
The announcement comes months after the government suspended Worldcoin activities in the country over data privacy concerns.
Worldcoin, founded by US tech entrepreneur Sam Altman, offered free crypto tokens to Kenyans who agreed to have their eyeballs scanned.
President Ruto now says the much-anticipated launch of Maisha Namba and Digital ID will happen in December.
 The Head of State said the digital ID system is currently in a two-month testing phase and will be ready by December.

“The digital ID which has been a big problem to us for a very long time is now on a testing mode for the next two months. I have been assured by all the stakeholders led by the ministries concerned that by December we will be able to launch a digital ID, where every Kenyan will not need to carry any paper plastic or otherwise as an ID,” President Ruto said.

The digital ID was scheduled to be unveiled on October 2, 2023, before the exercise was postponed at the last minute.

“We wish to inform the public and all the stakeholders that, due to unavoidable circumstances, the official launch of the Maisha Namba and the digital ID ecosystem that was to be presided over by His Excellency, the President William Auto, CGH, on October 2, 2023, at the Athletics Club, Nakuru County has been postponed. A new date for the launch will be communicated in due course,” Julius Bitok, the Immigration and Citizen Services Permanent Secretary, said in a statement on September 29.

The government, however, assured the public that public participation and stakeholder engagement forums on both the Maisha Namba and the digital ID ecosystem would continue as planned.

“Meanwhile, public participation and stakeholders’ engagement forums on Maisha Namba and the digital ID ecosystem that are ongoing across the country will continue,” the statement added.

Maisha Namba will serve as a unique personal identification number assigned to all citizens upon registration, typically at birth.

This number, according to PS Bitok, will become their lifelong personal identity number from birth to death.

“The Maisha number will be given to newborn children and they will use it throughout their lifetime. It will be their ID number, KRA pin, NSSF number, birth and death certificate number,” Bitok said in a past statement.

The new card will feature a photo image of the applicant, an ID number, a card serial number, biometric data, biographic data, residential particulars, and advanced security elements.

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