- Agency says its actions are informed by the need to protect citizens
- CA faces accusations of spying on Kenyans through tapping of phone calls
- Authority boss Wangusi maintains agency’s independence from perceived government interference ahead of August polls
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has refuted claims that it was spying on Kenyans through use of a multi-million shilling system it says is intended to protect consumers.
The agency says that the Sh200 million Device Management System (DMS) rolled out is aimed purely at ensuring counterfeit devices are locked out of the country.
Speaking during a press conference aimed at allaying the spy claims, CA Director General Francis Wangusi denied media reports that the system was being used to extract data from third parties.
“There is misinformation in today’s newspapers that that we are planning to spy on Kenyans which is quite the contrary,” Wangusi said.
Reports indicated that the State had asked mobile telephone service providers to allow it to plant gadgets on all networks in the country that have the ability to listen, read and track down the more than 30 million Kenyans who own mobile devices.
This elicited outcry from Kenyans on social media questioning the government’s tapping especially ahead of the August 8 General Elections.
The communications boss however clarified that CA was an independent agency that does not necessarily follow State directives blindfold.
Wangusi said the rollout of the system was necessitated by increased cases of traffic from counterfeit devices in the country as pointed out by Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
“Fellow Northern corridor countries have written to Kenya complaining on volumes of illegal traffic origination from the country,” he noted.
“We have a paltry staff of 247 employees which is incapable and unable of spying on the millions of citizens,” he added.
The Consumer Federation of Kenya said that it would sue CA for breach of privacy saying the system was against the Constitution that would also expose telcos to lawsuits for breach of confidentiality.
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