LSK petitions Supreme Court to stop phone spying gadgets

A feature phone user. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG

Lawyers have petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the communications regulator from installing an eavesdropping device on mobile phone networks that is claimed will give the watchdog access to other customer data, including calls, messages and financial transactions.

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) moved to the Supreme Court after the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) was allowed by the Court of Appeal to go ahead with the implementation, but involve the public in the process.

The lawyers warn that the gadget -- Device Management Systems (DMS) -- will herald an era of public control and eavesdropping on peoples’ privacy via intercepting and recording of communication and mobile data.

CA wants the court to drop the LSK petitions and allow the rollout of the DMS.

The lawyers’ lobby says the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the police and other government agencies will have access to phone call data through the DMS.

“The DMS will not just be collecting mobile data from devices in the system, it will also offer the ability to cross-reference that data with personal data held in other foundational and functional government databases,” said the LSK.

Safaricom had raised concerns that the monitoring devices would give the regulator access to other customer data held by the telecom operators.

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