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Kenya’s New Biometric System

In an ambitious new initiative, the Kenyan government is planning to assign each citizen a unique identification number that will be required in order to go to school, get health care and housing, register to vote, get married and obtain a driver’s license, bank account and even a mobile phone number. In preparation, nearly 40 million Kenyans have already had their fingerprints and faces scanned by a new biometric system. But millions of ethnic, racial and religious minorities are running into obstacles and facing additional scrutiny when they apply for the documents required to get a biometric ID. Many have faced outright rejection. Now the biometric ID plan is being challenged in court by civil rights organizations, which say it is disenfranchising members of minority groups.

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Alastair Tempest

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