Over 5 million Kenyans from various minority groups have to go through discriminatory processes to get ID cards. This essay in WIRED is on how a marginalized community equipped with the power of law fought back against an exclusionary digital identity system in Kenya and won.
The case was not unique; judiciaries of other nations have taken on similar cases in the past. What made the Kenyan case different was the halting of the digital scheme for the risk of excluding a segment of the population. This was a world first.
Digital IDs increase the risk of further marginalizing members of minority communities who struggle to get analog ID cards and birth certificates due to a discriminatory vetting system. Without these physical documents, they would be unable to secure a digital ID. And without a digital ID, they would be denied access to essential government services such as education, health care, and electricity.
Kenya’s digital ID scheme also comes with punitive consequences. Failure to get a child registered in the new database could see parents imprisoned for a year.
While community paralegals such as those from the Nubian Rights Forum have worked with minority groups to help them get IDs and birth certificates, this is not enough to eliminate systemic discrimination. The essay writers call for a new wave of multiethnic movements for justice that use grassroots legal empowerment to further the work by community paralegals, and shift our systems towards equality.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: May 25, 2018
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The Forum uses data about your posts and other activity to make automated decisions about whether your posts are spam.
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The section titles in this Policy are for convenience only and have no legal or contractual effect.
The Site, the Forum, and any third party services they use, may be subject to additional terms and conditions regarding privacy and use of information. Your use of the Site and the Forum is subject to those terms and conditions, which are incorporated into this Policy by reference. In the event of an inconsistency between this Policy and any additional posted conditions, the provisions of the additional conditions shall control.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
If you live in a country which has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (EU; 2016/679), you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application.
The Policy was updated in May 2018 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.