The government has published the Data Protection (Civil Registration) Regulations, 2020. The regulations have can now be read by the public, which can then submit opinions, comments, and inputs before the proposal is pursued by the House.
It is worth noting that the general goal of the regulations is to support the establishment of personal data protection legal framework in Kenya, which should be compliant with global standards. The framework should then provide a solid basis for the management of the civil registry.
Also, the civil registry, obviously, has a lot of personal data; hence sound rules, methodologies, and practices must be put in place to ensure excellent administration. The regulations are also fronted as a platform to foster the trust of Kenyans in a manner public agencies handle their personal data.
Going through the document reveals a system for the adoption of a general law on personal data protection that applies to both the public and private sectors. The document is also in line with the requirement of a strong civil registration, identity management systems and other vital statistics that are fundamental to the practical and fair running of the government.
The Data Protection (Civil Registration) Regulations, 2020 were also published alongside the Huduma Namba Regulations (2020) that details the legal aspects of the to-be established NIIMS system, and how the exercise of onboarding people into the new database will be done in the future.
NIIMS, which can also be viewed as a national civil registration system, is being defended as the best source of data for generating key statistics, and, therefore, should be backed up by a sound legal framework.
Data submitted during vital registration exercises such as census provide essential metrics needed for national planning for a ton of social service programs, education, public housing, and other development projects.
In the same breath, a civil registration system with a robust national coverage provides the most reliable basis for an identity management system. For instance, birth registration establishes a legal identity and provides the entry point into an identity management system. This time around, all births will be updated in NIIMS should the Huduma Bill pass.
The civil registration regulations provide overreaching principles that focus on ensuring interoperability in civil registrations and identity management systems. The material is divided into six parts: Part 1 highlights citations, the scope of regulations and interpretation; Part 2 provides an overview of data protection principles such as privacy of processing personal data and consent; Part 3 details the rights of a data subject; Part 4 highlights the obligations if the civil registration entities; Part 5 discusses security safeguards such as database security; and lastly, Part 6 summarizes miscellaneous provisions.
The regulations can be read here.