Kenya Government could start monitoring Citizens’ Calls, Texts, and Mobile Money Activities
From as soon as Tuesday next week, the Kenyan government could start listening in to calls, read texts and even review transactions you make via mobile money services.
Through the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the government is said to have already ordered telecom companies operating in the country, to grant it access to their computers. Through a contracted company, the government is going to play the big brother, knowing all your cellular and possibly online activities.
What’s the reason for Kenya government spying on its citizens?
The reason the Kenya government is giving to start spying on its citizens is as classical as they come. The government says it wants to stop the use of counterfeit devices; that is fake phones in the Kenyan market.
But who is to say where the monitoring starts and where it will stop once the government gets access to users’ phone records and mobile money transactions? Who will monitor the government, because the boundary between supervision and outright infringement of Kenyans rights to privacy is thin?
Usually, if the government wants to intercept someone’s conversation and access their personal data. They would first have to get a court order after showing reasonable cause for their action. Well, at least that is how it is supposed to be, and how we hope it actually happens.
The fact that Kenya from a legal ground has no data protection law in place, the people who get access to other Kenyans personal data through the government act, could potentially abuse that access and get away scot-free.
The CA is said to have already written letters to telecom companies operating in the company giving dates as to when they will start plugging into your devices. The dates on the said letters, some are as soon as Tuesday next week.
The tapping in will involve the CA using a third party company to hook onto all routers by Safaricom, Airtel, and Orange Telkom. As cited by a Nation, a local daily, the letter reads in part:
“Kindly facilitate our principal contractor, M/S Broadband Communications Networks Ltd., to access your site and install the link at the data-center or the mobile switching room.
The link should terminate close to the core network elements that shall integrate to the DMS solutions.
The DMS block diagram and integration requirement for this setup was shared with your technical team on January 17, 2017.”
As a Kenyan Citizen, do you get to have your say on the matter?
If the said joint effort by the telecom companies to resist the government move fails to bear fruit, to a large extent, your data privacy will be at the discretion of the government, the third party contracted to intercept telecom networks, and the telecom companies themselves.
It also emerges that the company contracted, Broadband Communications Services Ltd. does not legally bear the responsibility to protect your confidentiality. Therefore, they have no legal responsibility to keep your data private and secure.
That said, you as a citizen should not sit there like a duck waiting to be killed. Take matters into your hands, by at least making it difficult for government agents, any would-be hackers, and even telecom companies themselves to snoop into your data.
Read some files and data encryption tips we shared on Monday by clicking here to get all the pro tips on how to make your personal information difficult to obtain by the government.