Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Data Collected but Not Processed

So much data is being collected from Kenya citizens these days at various points of transactions by citizens. This is largely in the form of being asked to produce more and more documents to authenticate/verify information that some of the organizations already know or have in their archives - these include:

- Last week (June 30) marked the tax filing deadline Kenyans who rushed to the revenue authority offices and returned forms, while some even managed to file online
- Government workers & civil servants have been filing their annual income and asset returns for about six years now in a wealth declaration exercise – but the forms are just filed away, and for some who participate such as members of parliament, the rules stipulate that no one can look at their forms ever!
- Mobile phone companies have began to comply with a directive (not a law) that asks mobile phone subscribers to register and verify their data in a bid to crack down on terrorism, money laundering, hate crimes etc. A lot of this information’s is already in the hands of the companies e.g. with Safaricom, post-paid subscribers, M-pesa users and any shareholder who registered for dividends by m-pesa last year has already given all of this information – and Safaricom have now issued a statement that m-pesa and post-pay customers won’t have to re-submit their information. Kahenya views the mobile phone registration exercise as being for national security to build a database on citizens that they can tap into if/when they choose to scrutinize.
- From July this year, it has been mandated that there will be Kenya banks share information in a program to improve the assessment of borrowers capability to repay loans and which is hoped will lower the cost of credit (to good re-payers) and amount of bad debts at banks (by filtering out bad re-payers)
- Some banks have changed, others have not. Some like Barclays ask you to bring in a passport photo to open an account, while others like Equity snap your digital picture in their banking hall after you fill out the forms. Still in a single bank you may have an account, but to open another savings or credit card account, you may be asked to produce photocopy of ID, passport photo, and your bank statement
- My problems with custody registrar services who are one of the largest collectors of photocopies of documents, continues to this day; and CRS appear to have been vindicated by the Kenyan stockbrokers fraternity who have endorsed the Kenya capital markets proceeds of crime and anti-money laundering efforts by way of obtaining as much information as they can to ascertain a customers risk profile, nature of business, sources of funds and they are also to report any transactions greater than $10,000 (~Kshs 800,000)

A lot of the information is in paper photocopy form, and in application forms which thousands of people fill out without reading the fine print of what the information can be used for e.g. Safaricom m-pesa dividend mobile phone dividend payment form explicitly stated

Safaricom recognizes the importance of protecting privacy (3.1)… Safaricom collects personal information that we use to profile m-pesa users (3.2) and administer accounts …Safaricom does not share your information with unauthorized persons (3.3)…and you expressly consent and authorize Safaricom to disclose data relating to your dividends to (among others) Kenya police, central bank of Kenya, Kenya anti corruption commission, the central depository & settlement corporation (11.2)

So there is a massive amount of information being collected, but is it being processed? No and Yes. No because it may at most be at most scrutinized at the point of receipt/approval (mainly only in the case of banks) and then filed away to only be retrieved if an account goes bad.


OtienoHongo said...

Could not have said it better! we are always filling in some form somewhere, now if there could be a way of sharing some of these data within either govt or specific similar industries so that we don't keep doing it...

Anonymous said...

Good article. For all this info to be shared privacy of individuals(Kenyans) need to be catered for. You wouldn't want "unauthorized persons" (req def.) accessing it

bankelele said...

otienohongo: the information is not being shared in a way that enhances value and service at many of the entities who collect it, so its just a burden for them and the taxpayer

propaganda said...

Talking of collecting data: Have you heard about the Know Your Customer exercise being carried out by CFC Stanbic Financial Services? Those guys left me feeling naked after all the information they are demanding. (map to your home (!!), PIN/ID cards, utility bill, payslip!!) Even if this data is going into a bank vault, it just feels WRONG!


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