[2 Lessons from India’s a-duh! moment] 1. Fingerprints can be stolen 2. Aadhaar data leak was the world’s biggest

[~10 minute read] [Links below]
Two important takeaways from India’s “a-duh!” moment:

1. The value of proactive and strategic industry engagement with Government:

India has some of the world’s smartest techies, but it looks like they have very sub-optimal influence in strategic policy and politics because Aadhaar issues could have been easily foreseen and mitigated.

This is the same situation we have in Kenya where the tech industry is often reacting to policies / laws that seem to materialize from “thin air” as different arms of Government operate in silo mode.

The reactive approach by industry is dis-empowering and leads to antagonistic / mistrusting relationships or engagements between industry and government whereas the goal should be to get optimal systemic gains through proactive influencing and cooperation.

Governments are primarily political organizations and indigenous businesses in Kenya (and Africa) must come to terms with the fact that their operating environment is greatly influenced by the political environment (and government policies / projects / priorities / deadlines are often driven by political goals). It is therefore imperative that indigenous Tech stakeholders get more active and visible in politics to boost local industry’s influence on government activities.

We should not just engage (as an industry) with/via ICT ministry, but also form direct working links with Finance, Education, Industrialization, Agriculture, Lands, Foreign Affairs and Culture ministries – among others, as well as Parliament and the Senate; and such engagement should go as far as proactively (and strategically) fielding pro-local-industry candidates for parliamentary, senate, cabinet and permanent secretary roles as well as influencing selection of working groups and committees.

Be assured the MNCs have dedicated full-time teams that are actively engaging governments 24x7x365 (often dangling carrots – that somehow never materialize – to win undeserved concessions to the detriment of reticent local players).

The same MNCs, having external loyalties, aggressively avoid contributing meaningfully to the local society’s long-term or strategic well being, e.g. by paying much less relative taxes, thanks to tax havens and Transfer Pricing; suppressing local wages; exacerbating inflation via predatory pricing or exploitative business models; blocking skills transfer; committing immigration corruption to facilitate race-nepotism; and many other value-destroying activities (which are then whitewashed with “CSR” and PR).

2. Corruption is a cultural phenomena:

Legislation or technical measures have minimal or greatly degraded impact in an entrenched culture of corruption; so pushing for excessive / draconian laws; adding layers of bureaucracy or introducing intrusive surveillance systems does not (and will never, by itself) solve corruption; it only pushes the vice to higher level of elitism where real unaccountable power is held (as is the case in western countries where corruption is largely a preserve of the super-elite); and that ultimately makes corruption far more difficult – if not totally impossible – to solve.

In Kenya, we have a paradoxical advantage of being a young republic… things like corruption are not as entrenched as they are in the more mature republics (hence the low levels of sophistication). I think as a country, we have a better chance of solving the problem, if we look for new ways of thinking about the vice.

At the heart of our problem is a system of extrinsic values (excessive reliance on external indicators of achievement e.g. paper certification or displays of material opulence). This needs to be replaced with a system that extols intrinsic values (instilling a deep love for country, vocation and society – and emphasizing that as the most worthy indicator of achievement).

Its impossible to superficially declare, impose or proclaim intrinsic values – they have to be modeled in everyday scenarios at all leadership levels, so they can be willingly admired and emulated. This requires a deliberate and strategic highlighting, in collaboration with mass media networks, of strategic role model archetypes that embody the precise values or vocations that are beneficial to our society.

Example: The people who do the most critical work in society (e.g. Doctors, Nurses, Educators, Job creators / Small business founders) would be prominently and routinely celebrated. Those employed would be paid well enough to have comparative financial dignity and accorded high levels of respect and admiration in society. Because these professions require intelligence, conscientiousness, hard work, technical mastery, problem solving, ethics and patience – among other desirable qualities, uplifting them will create an environment where society desires to emulate their habits. Now contrast with qualities that politicians need have if they want to get ahead… 🙂

Further, when the elites who set policy live in a different and disconnected, parallel world: how can they empathize with problems that don’t affect them? Their only connection with the populace is the ballot – hence the recurrent cycles of high, but superficial, engagement with society only during voting time where promises of “a better tomorrow” abound. How about a better today, for a change?

a. How many Kenyans (% of 45 Million) can fly to America, London, India or South Africa for medical treatment? Would striking Nurses be paid poorly if one condition for getting into public office, for all senior government officials, is that they exclusively use local public hospitals (or resign to access private / international ones)? Wouldn’t the public health system improve immediately? This kind of thinking can be extrapolated to nearly all sectors.

b. Is education really important? Then why doesn’t the status of educators in society (and their pay) reflect their role as the trustees of our economic destiny?

c. Does merit matter? If yes, how can we measure merit in a consistent and transparent way?  Some countries have a map that links all training offered to real vocation prospects – in view of strategic contexts, economic trends & projections.

d. Can we design a “national dream”? A systematized model for merit based achievement where sincere inputs (initiative, effort, innovation) get a high chance of desired outputs; and where dream-hacking like nepotism and cronyism is shunned? National dreams must be anchored on systems and institutions.

Let’s get engaged with Government in a more proactive and strategic way so that we can address the real issues and reduce the endless firefighting.

Best Regards,
Patrick A. M. Maina
[Cross-Domain Innovator & Public Policy Analyst – Indigenous Innovations]

Aadhaar Operator’s Biometrics Stolen And Misused, UIDAI Documents Prove

|
|
|
| | |

|

|
|
| |
Aadhaar Operator’s Biometrics Stolen And Misused, UIDAI Documents Prove

Tech-support emails accessed by HuffPost India prove that the biometric identity of an Aadhaar operator were sto…
|

|

|

Aadhaar leak biggest data breach of 2018, claims Avast Antivirus study

|
|
|
| | |

|

|
|
| |
Aadhaar leak biggest data breach of 2018, claims Avast Antivirus study

The report refers to the incident in which anonymous sellers on WhatsApp charged Rs 500 or less for access to Aa…
|

|

|

_______________________________________________
kictanet mailing list

KICTANet Admin information

Related Posts

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.