Government denies claims that it is planning to spy on Kenyans through mobile devices

Wangusi clarified that the DMS targets only counterfeit devices and that the authority did not have the spying capacity to tap into mobile phone companies and Kenyans.

The Communication Authority (CA) Francis Wangusi has refuted claims of spying on mobile phone usage through installation of new systems.

Director General Francis Wangusi on Friday held a press conference after most of the major dailies carried out headlines indicating that the government through the CA had ordered mobile phone companies to allow it to tap their computers.

Wangusi termed the media reports as misleading in particular the deployment of the Device Management System (DMS).

He said that the DMS was being deployed in close consultation with the local network providers contrary to claims by the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) that it was being rolled out by only a select team.

CA insisted that the main purpose of the move new system will only be used to identify and ban counterfeit, stolen or illegal mobile devices and that Kenyans have nothing to worry about.

Consumer rights

The spying claims had created uproar from consumer rights protection groups who fear the copying of data and personal information will flout privacy laws.

Cofek threatened to sue the operators and the communications regulator if they implement the system.

“This system will compromise consumer privacy and monitor calls and text messages while exposing consumers to higher billing and occasion poor quality services,” Cofek Secretary General Stephen Mutoro said.

He maintained that the move is against the Constitution and will expose the telcos to lawsuits for breach of confidentiality.

Agencies to have access

Some of the government agencies allowed to access the information are the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the National Police Service will also be allowed access to the information.

Generally, governments can listen to private conversations and access personal data, but are only allowed to do this only when they provide a good reason and after a written consent from a judge.

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