Governance

Government Agency Given Go Ahead To Build Phone “Spyware” System

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Spy CAK Whatsapp Messages

Wondering if someone is spying on you? Well, your phone might just be the avenue to this dark alley. The Court of Appeal has allowed the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) to continue construction of a ‘mass surveillance’ system.

This system  will supposedly allow the government to fight cyber crimes. However, Telcos like Safaricom are against this move stating that the system cannot be trusted.

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CAK Data Management System

The CAK engaged mobile providers proposing to install a system to detect stolen phones and counterfeits. The Court held the stakeholder engagement stating that the the system should be completed and rules subject to public participation.

Following this order by the court, the stakeholders opposed the move saying that its possible the system would be used as spyware. They are afraid that it will be used to eavesdrop on peoples calls and track financial transactions.

However, the judges stated that there wasn’t enough credible evidence to supporting the fears of the firms. According to the CA, the system is going to help detect mobile phones stolen abroad. It will supposedly stop the proliferation of counterfeit and illegal devices.

Securing The Right To Privacy, Government Spyware Fears

Consultations with the telecom operators Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom are incomplete but so far their aim is to try and rule out the concerns about rights to privacy.

“In exercise of its mandate of developing a DMS , the appellant shall continue with the ongoing consultations. This is all prior to filling of the petition so as to complete the technical and consumer guidelines on the DMS. The guidelines should also be subjected to public participation.”

Safaricom told the court the regulator disregarded concerns that allowing third parties to access their systems, would infringe their customer’s right privacy.

“The decision to install the devices without consultation is arbitrary as the law, does not grant CA powers to interfere with device tapping.” Safaricom said.

Telkom did not take a stand and are okay with whatever motion is passed while Airtel are yet to reply to the case.

This article has been updated after it emerged that our source has misreported the news. We apologize for misleading.

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