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The Government of Kenya wants to start tapping on your devices

  • February 17, 2017
  • 4 min read
The Government of Kenya wants to start tapping on your devices

This is so disturbing news coming to a matter of privacy: Privacy is so essential to the world, passing information from one party to another without the fear of leakage of information is one satisfying factor. We’ve seen fights between big companies, big government organisations and the community at large regarding information taps and spying.

Just the other day I was watching Snowden:  a movie about NSA’s illegal surveillance techniques are leaked to the public by one of the agency’s employees, Edward Snowden, in the form of thousands of classified documents distributed to the press.  This was so intriguing at some point until it got creepy that you start wondering are you a victim too or it’s just a movie.

Well, this is now coming to a reality in Kenya, one of the technology hotbeds in Africa. the GOK together with the communication Authority wants it so bad, to spy: telling the Phone providers to Chip in devices that would ease this process, Now all your communications will be out on the waves for the government hear and see, no one is safe! your calls, transactions, chats, call log history nothing conducted under that device will become your secret.

By early last year,  the population of Kenya that had access to mobile phones was up to 38  million, of which around half or more of that population are accessing the internet. This is a massively vulnerable society on the open with a less percentage of this number getting to know about the “end to end encrypted chat application” like Telegram, signal, weChat, wickr. just to mention a few.  Recently we saw Egypt wrangles with the government  on blockage of encrypted applications.

The law is to be active by Tuesday,  next week, so such in a hurry and at a short duration of time. Most of the times the GOK needs a special permit and reason to this kind of job, The spy job. Already the letters to the phone companies have been sent and the dates scheduled and planned for the works to start. This will involve the third party company getting hooked up to all routers at Safaricom, Airtel and Orange Telkom, effectively opening up private communication data to an entity other than those licensed to hold them and the government. Now we things will get f##ked up for the common man, the private man on the privacy issue.

According to Nation Media, they say, they obtained a copy from the government to the Phone providers stating:

“Kindly facilitate our principal contractor, M/S Broadband Communications Networks Ltd, to access your site and install the link at the data centre or the mobile switching room.

“The link should terminate close to the core network elements that shall integrate to the DMS solution.

“The DMS block diagram and integration requirements for this setup were shared with your technical team on January 17, 2017,” read the letter signed by the authority’s director, licensing, compliance and standards Christopher Kemei on behalf of the director-general.

In September 2016 the Broadband Communications Services Ltd was offered  2  Sh207.2 million tender to design, supply, deliver, install, test, commission and maintain the devices. This is not the first time a government branch tried to access the data for citizens, KRA also made previous attempts to access M-Pesa transaction records to get hold of the tax cheats, a move on Safaricom, which has 26.6 million customers, resisted, citing the need for proper legal backing.

The numbers on each provider is so huge and leave alone that, the data being passed from one party to another perhaps is X10 the number of subscribers on each.

Safaricom’s 26.6 million customers lose privacy. Airtel Network Ltd has 6.7 million subscriptions, Telkom Kenya Ltd, 2.9 million while Finserve Africa Ltd and Sema Mobile Services Ltd subscriptions stand at 2.2 million subscribers, according to the latest statistics.

With the current situation of the country ( corruption and terrorism ) do you think its safe for the move to be made?

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Incuabte Africa

Incubate Africa, founded on June 5, 2016, is a Tech company based and Founded in Africa with the main focus of showcasing African-developed technology to the rest of the world. We strongly believe in what Africa has to offer the world. #Revolutionizing the startup culture

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