Digital identification systems have become increasingly popular in many countries, including Kenya. While these systems can offer a range of benefits, they also come with potential risks, particularly for marginalized communities such as the Nubian ethnic minority and the Somalis on double registration. In this article, we will explore the risks associated with digital ID systems (Huduma Namba /UPI) in Kenya for the Nubian community.
The Nubian community in Kenya, for instance, is a minority group that has faced discrimination and marginalization for decades. They have struggled to obtain Kenyan citizenship, with many lacking official identification documents (passports,IDs ). The Kenyan government’s efforts to implement a digital ID system have raised concerns about how this will impact the Nubian community.
One of the biggest risks of a digital ID system is exclusion. The Nubian community may struggle to access the necessary technology to obtain and use digital IDs, especially those living in rural or remote areas. This could further marginalize the community, making it even more challenging for them to access services, such as healthcare and education.
Another risk is the potential for data breaches and the misuse of personal information. Digital ID systems rely on centralized databases that store sensitive personal information, including biometric data such as fingerprints and facial recognition data. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it could lead to identity theft or other forms of cybercrime. Furthermore, there is a risk that the government could misuse this information for surveillance or discriminatory purposes, which could have severe consequences for the Nubian community.
There is also a risk that the digital ID system could perpetuate existing biases and discrimination. The algorithms used in facial recognition technology have been shown to have biases against people of color, and there are concerns that this could result in the minority groups and communities at risk of statelessness being unfairly targeted by law enforcement or immigration authorities. Additionally, the lack of diversity in the tech industry could mean that the digital ID system is not designed with the needs of these communities in mind.
In conclusion, while digital ID systems have the potential to offer many benefits, there are significant risks associated with their implementation. The Nubian community in Kenya is a marginalized group that is particularly vulnerable to these risks. It is crucial that the Kenyan government takes steps to mitigate these risks and ensure that the digital ID system is inclusive and designed with the needs of all communities in mind. Failure to do so could further perpetuate discrimination and marginalization of the Nubian community