[Sign on] Data Privacy of Nepali Voters at Stake!

[Sign on] Data Privacy of Nepali Voters at Stake!

May 5, 2022
Petition to
Election Commission, Nepal Commissioner
This petition made change with 735 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Body & Data

Nepal is gearing for the second local level election on 13th May 2022 since the promulgation of Constitution of Federal Republic of Nepal in 2015. Before the first local election in 2017, demographic and biometrics data of over 12.9 million voters was collected by the election commission, which was said to be used for the national ID card. However, this data did not get materialized. Instead, the government launched another separate project where biometrics were again collected for the National ID card. Currently, the data collection and card distribution process are rapidly taking place. The Election Commission currently hosts largest biometric database of 17 million registered voters that the commission have collected.

Under a provision of Nepal’s Electoral Rules 2012 which mandates Election Commission to “establish its own website for public information of and access to the final Electoral Rolls collected”, all the data including name, age, gender, address, voting station, spouses’ names, parents’ names and voter ID number is publicly available in Election Commission’s website without prior consent from the voters. The right to privacy in Nepal is assured by Article 29 of the constitution which is further stressed by the Individual Privacy Act, 2018 and Guideline on Individual Privacy, 2020. However, the policies grant uneven power to the authorities to collect, store, protect, analyze, process or publish the personal information of any person. A provision within the Guideline on Individual Privacy that requires organizations and entities to keep personal information safely and privately doesn’t apply to the authorized person; creating loopholes in data security concerning millions of citizens. 

All the private information of millions of Nepali citizens being publicly available infringe individual’s right to privacy and put them at the risk of being misused and theft. Given the Election Commission’s open access to voters’ list in their website, which also includes information on voting station, information on family, age and gender, such information can further be used for targeted surveillance and stalking of marginalized and vulnerable communities. This does not only pose security threat on the people and the community but also restricts them from exercising their right to vote.

In this context, we as individuals and organizations concerned on the topic appeal Election Commission of Nepal to take responsibility in protecting and securing information of the voters it hosts by removing the database from its website. Our appeal for them is also to take accountability of any misuse and theft of the data. 

Note: The petition will be sent to the election commission of Nepal along with the signatures being collected through statement in Nepali language

Petition by Body & Data, Nepal

Body & Data is a digital rights organization in Nepal working to enhance understanding and access to information on digital rights among women, queer people and marginalized groups where they are able to exercise their rights in a safe and just digital space.


This petition made change with 735 supporters!

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