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No green light for authorities to tap phones in Kenya: Judiciary

“State gets green light to tap private phone calls,” claims a post on the Facebook page Kenya News and Updates, dated 26 April 2020 .

“The court of appeal has allowed the Communication Authority of Kenya to install a mass surveillance system that will allow the government to snoop your phone conversations.”

The claim started circulating on social media after the Standard newspaper published an article that said the appeal court had “overturned a ruling High Court judgement that had outlawed the controversial Data Management system (DMS) which is meant to monitor mobile phone networks”.

The article is headlined: “State gets greenlight to tap private phone calls.” It says the appeal court found that the high court “failed to appreciate that there was no credible evidence to demonstrate the system was meant to spy on consumers’ private information”.

Has the appeal court allowed state officials to listen in on phone conversations? We checked.

The Judiciary

On the day the article was published, Kenya’s Judiciary tweeted: “The Standard got it wrong.”

It said the Communications Authority of Kenya had “engaged mobile network providers proposing to install a system to detect stolen phones & counterfeits”. The appeal court “held that the stakeholder engagement should be completed and the rules subjected to public participation”.

The Judiciary tweeted a link to the judgement. The appeal court had ruled that the communications authority should continue with consultations before the petition was filed. – Grace Gichuhi


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