Privacy International interviewed 57 sources for their report on the link between surveillance and torture and murder in Kenya, including 32 law enforcement, military or intelligence officers with direct firsthand knowledge of the programs.
Kenya has always had an overreaching and often abusive domestic surveillance apparatus -- a legacy of British colonial rule. But the 21st century has proved fertile for those who wish to expand the capacity of police and spies to conduct warrantless, unaccountable programs of murder and torture, thanks to the real threat of terrorism from Kenya's failed-state neighbours and the ready availability of high-tech spying tools bought in from Israeli cyber-arms dealers.
The Privacy International report documents a grotesque, widespread campaign of domestic terror led by the country's National Intelligence Service, and abetted by the Parliament (who have granted domestic spies far-reaching powers whose minimal oversight can be ignored with impunity), telcoms companies (who allow spies to tap directly into their infrastructure, host political officers with on-site offices at their headquarters, abet the placement of undercover spies in their workforce, and abet the circumvention of the minimal checks and balances on surveillance powers) and a variety of national and local police forces, who serve as death-squads and torturers.
As things stand, most Kenyan surveillance is targeted, because the intelligence services lack the budget to undertake NSA-style mass surveillance. But with the impending elections -- and the threat of a return to earlier post-election violence -- the country's spies have been allocated a budget to conduct continuous, population-scale surveillance of the whole country, and have bought tools to do it, again, from Israeli cyber-arms dealers.
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