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CS Kindiki reveals details of new upgraded ID cards set to be launched

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki unveiled plans to revolutionize the Identification Card (ID) system in Kenya.

CS Kithure Kindiki speaking during a meeting at Harambee House, Nairobi on May 15, 2023

During his speech at the prestigious ID4Africa Conference held at the Kenya College of Insurance on May 24, Prof Kindiki outlined the government's vision to introduce advanced biometric features, including facial recognition, to enhance the security and functionality of the IDs.

This strategic move aims to address emerging challenges and establish a robust identification system for the nation.

The forthcoming identification cards are set to incorporate cutting-edge biometric technology, supplementing the existing fingerprint security feature with additional layers of security.

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Prof Kindiki emphasized the government's commitment to upgrading the current automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) into an automated biometric identification system.

This upgraded system will encompass not only fingerprints but also iris scans and facial recognition, ensuring a comprehensive and foolproof identification process.

The new biometric features will significantly bolster security measures, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to engage in identity-related crimes.

By harnessing the power of facial recognition, Kenya aims to stay ahead of the curve and pave the way for more advanced security protocols.

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In addition to reinforcing security features, the upgraded IDs will offer a range of new capabilities, including online authentication using short codes.

This innovation will enable individuals to authenticate their identification cards conveniently and securely through online platforms, enhancing accessibility and minimizing the need for physical verification.

Prof Kindiki further disclosed that the digitization of government services would commence with newborns becoming the first beneficiaries of the program.

These uniquely tailored IDs will serve as a lifelong registration number, streamlining administrative processes and establishing a strong foundation for a digitalized future.

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Prof Kindiki expressed his vision of a digital ID system that allows web-based ID authentication, facilitating efficient and secure access to essential services.

He said this transformative shift will grant individuals greater control over their personal data and revolutionize the way government services are delivered.

The Principal Secretary of the Immigration Department, Julius Bitok, shared additional insights during the conference, announcing the government's plan to launch the new identification cards on September 16, 2023.

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He noted that this strategic initiative aligns with President William Ruto's vision to digitize over 5,000 services, heralding a new era of technological advancement and improved efficiency.

Julius Bitok emphasized the government's commitment to diversify revenue streams and combat identity theft by consolidating and digitizing existing databases under its custody.

This consolidation aims to promote pay-to-access models for telecommunication firms and other businesses reliant on Know-Your-Customer (KYC) profiles.

By ensuring the availability of accurate and reliable data, the government aims to minimize fraudulent activities and create a secure environment for businesses and individuals alike.

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While the government pushes forward with this ambitious ID upgrade initiative, ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo clarified that there are no plans to revive the previously proposed Huduma Number system.

Instead, a consultative approach will be taken, considering the best options for the country and addressing the concerns of various stakeholders.

This approach ensures that the development of an enhanced identification system aligns with Kenya's unique requirements and facilitates seamless integration into the digital age.

As the government of Kenya spearheads this monumental transformation of the identification system, it seeks to set new standards for security, convenience, and accessibility. The introduction of advanced biometric features, such as facial

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