Shocking report reveals how police snoop your phone for money, messages and calls
Intercepted communications content and data are used to facilitate gross human rights abuses – to spy on, profile, locate, track and ultimately arrest, torture, kill or make suspects disappear.
A UK charity Privacy International firm has released a report (seen by P Live Kenya) exposing the role of the government against its own people, violating grossly the constitution as it mandates the protection from aggression. The government surveillance arm has been adversely mentioned in facilitating torture and extrajudicial killings.
The report, based on unprecedented testimonies, has pointed that from dozens of current and former law enforcement, military and intelligence personnel have been involved in sourcing and spying on telecommunication's gadgets such as phones, tapping into calls and messaging services.
The report,, has lit the darker ends on the techniques, tools and culture of Kenyan police and intelligence agencies’ surveillance capabilities.
Unregulated information sharing
The report has also detailed the routine unregulated intelligence sharing between government agencies. Privacy International executive director Gus Hosein said communications surveillance is being carried out by state actors, essentially without oversight, outside the law.
Intercepted communications content and data are used to facilitate gross human rights abuses – to spy on, profile, locate, track and ultimately arrest, torture, kill or make suspects disappear, Hosein claims.
“These police units have well-documented records of abuses, including torture and extrajudicial killing,” Hosein said, “Despite constitutional and other privacy protections, telecommunications operators regularly hand over customer data to both intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”
Hosein said sources who spoke to Privacy International felt they cannot decline agencies’ requests. The report reveals the National Intelligence Service appears to have direct access to communication networks across Kenya. Direct accesses have been able to access phone communications that flow through service providers.
In this case, it is unlikely the network operators had knowledge of the state’s interception, Hosein said. Safaricom, Airtel and You Mobile users, according to the report, are worst hit.
He adds that NIS officers use various techniques to access both call content and call data records, including using mobile interception devices.
Earlier, the Communications Authority of Kenya's Francis Wangusi said that the government is not doing that. however, state agency of security proposed a tapping into conversations at the Dadaab refuge camp, in a quest to root out terrorism activities earlier claimed to be planned and executed from there.
The report, whose details are the work of research carried out in February, indicates law enforcement agents are present within telecommunications operators’ facilities with the providers’ knowledge.
“NIS are also informally present in the telecommunication operators’ facilities, apparently undercover, according to current and former telecommunications, Communications Authority and NIS staff interviewed by Privacy International,” the report says.
The investigation details both ‘aboveboard’ and informal practices. Agency and company responses to requests for comment by Privacy International are included in the report.
Ahead of the election, the report states the Communications Authority has launched several ‘disturbing’ initiatives, including a project to monitor social media content, whose potential capacities are discussed in the review.
Safaricom Limited has since said that it is not aware of the spying going on in its offices.
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