No snooping on phones, courts warn government

By Correspondent

The High Court has outlawed plans by the Communication Authority (CA) and the government to tap private phone conversations.

In a ruling made by Justice John Mativo, the court declared the plans illegal and a violation of consumer rights.

CA Director-General Francis Wangusi had argued that proliferation of illegal devices had forced them to snoop on private phone calls in a bid to arrest cybercrime.

The regulator had written to Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya, the three major telcos in Kenya, over the plan demanding that the three companies and broadband communications networks tap computers on their behalf by planting spy gadgets on all networks.

The devices had the capacity to access all information stored by service providers and transacted on phone.

In his ruling, Justice Mativo said that attempts to install spy gadgets in telecommunication networks was adopted in a manner inconsistent with the constitution.

He said there was no adequate public participation prior to adoption and implementation of the system.

Mativo proceeded to prohibit CA from implementing the decision or installing any connectivity between the DMS and the mobile companies to access information on the IMEI, IMSI, MSISDN and CDRs of subscribers.

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