We are shocked to learn that the Communications Authority has imposed on Mobile Network Operators a Device Management System – a mechanism which will effectively compromise consumer privacy, indiscriminately monitor calls and text messages while exposing consumers to higher billing and occasion poor quality services.

This will be done without a lawful court order requiring police investigation of suspected subscribers.

Based on the terms of CA/PROC/OIT/27/2015-2016 tender, it is clear CA will flip open all the privacy data to many agencies and virtually all staff of the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), National Police Service (NPS) among others.

Within the arrangement, the DMS tool fronted by a Lebanese firm Broadband Communications Ltd will hook into main switches of all MNO’s and will access all manner of information from the voice, data and text messaging by unsuspecting Kenyans.

It is telling that prior to the hook-up, the CA and the contractor were to undertake a survey which has since been cancelled and directives issued to MNOs to allow access of their core switches to the third party whose background remains unclear.

All these is done under the guise of eradication of counterfeit communication devices. The proposed DMS will provide for Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to these agencies to allow them access the DMS resources via web interface.

To confirm the real privacy threat, the DMS will be capable of handling at least five simultaneous user interactions from the said agencies at any given time.

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