New CCTV guidelines to strip Kenyans of privacy

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021 00:00 | By
CCTV experts instal the system at a building in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File

Benjamin Imende @TheOkinda

The government will now have direct access to what you are doing in your office, hotel, gym and other public facilities following the new CCTV policy.

Monitoring will also allow the State to collect raw at a quarterly and annually of all activities in these facilities if the new policy becomes effective.

“CCTV system is a television system that transmits images on a closed-loop basis, where images are only available to those directly connected to the transmission system.

It relies on strategic placement of cameras, and observation of the cameras’ input on monitors,” the policy, to be executed by the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, says.

Crime control

“All institutions, businesses, and facilities with public areas should ensure that those areas are covered by CCTV systems,” the policy states.

It is to be tabled in Cabinet and if it gets its nod, it will be taken to the public for input. 

After the public participation,it will be tabled in Parliament for deliberation and voting.

The government says that the installation, operation and management of CCTV systems will be part of a multi-agency approach to crime control and public safety.

In the recent, detectives have successfully used CCTV cameras to track down criminals involved in kidnappings, abductions, murders and robbery with violence.

Three weeks ago, police used CCTV cameras to trace Carolyne Kangogo; the police officer who allegedly committed suicide after having been on the run for a week, at the scene of the murder of Thika businessman Peter Ndwiga.

In 2016, police used the same cameras to track down the killers of lawyer Willy Kimani in Athi River. 

Using the cameras, detectives arrested Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Corporal Stephen Chebulet and Constable Silvia Wanjiku after trailing how the cab they were in, left Machakos, Syokimau Police Station, to Kikuyu.

The policy will guide the installation, operation and management of all CCTV systems in public and private premises.

Those who fail to observe the new rules risk closure of businesses, jail sentences or fines.

“All the CCTV systems installed in the country be registered and operated in compliance with this policy,” the policy says.

All installed CCTV systems will be registered and operated in compliance with this policy.The owners and operators must also archive raw data.

“CCTV system audits and submission of reports shall be done quarterly at county level and annually at national level,” the policy adds.

The Interior ministry will ensure regular audits on the installation and management of the cameras.

CCTV systems that transverse more than one county will be vetted before being registered by the Interior ministry for easy audits and access by State security agencies.

Formal investigation

Those at the county level will be vetted through the County Security and Intelligence Committee.

Access to the system and recorded images will be controlled to prevent tampering or unauthorised viewing.

CCTV systems should be sited in such a way that they monitor areas intended to be covered by the system.

The policy makes it a crime to install CCTV covering restricted areas, which include police stations, Statehouses and military camps among others.

The CCTV control equipment must be housed within a secure area and be protected using a secure validation process, e.g. a password, or electronic key, to avoid unauthorized access to the system.

All CCTV footage must be disclosed for carrying out a formal investigation. 

Owners and operators will ensure that their systems operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and report all security-related incidents captured by the cameras to the relevant security authorities. 

Documents seen by the People Daily showed that policy has been developed by reports from the multi-agency submissions and desk researchers, draft CCTV policy for KEBS and the draft CCTV Policy of the State Department of Universities. 

Others are the Ministry of Education, Communication Authority Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Parliamentary Hansard.

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