Kenya denies mass mobile phone surveillance plan

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kenyan mobile phone firms have been ordered to install equipment to allow the telecommunications regulator to monitor activity on their networks. It means the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) would have the ability to listen to calls, read messages and view financial transactions.

But the body says the move is not about mass surveillance and is necessary in its fight against counterfeit phones. Such handsets cannot be tracked and are often used by criminals. The BBC’s Wanyama wa Chebusiri in the capital, Nairobi, says the regulator’s proposal would see more than 30 million mobile phone owners in Kenya lose their privacy and confidentiality.

‘Suspicious’ – The CA’s action sparked outrage when news of the plan was leaked on Friday. The Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK), which lobbies on behalf of customers, called the timing of the order “suspicious”.

“Coming in an election year, we are so suspicious that this is bound to be politicised and it is something that has shown that the government has something to hide,” said the federation’s general secretary, Stephen Mutoro.

Source: BBC (link opens in a new window)