Senate queries plans to install spy gadget

Friday, June 2nd, 2023 04:50 | By
Senate passes change to rules allowing CSs to appear for plenary sessions
Senate in session. PHOTO/Courtesy

Senators have launched inquiry into government’s plans to install Device Management System (DMS), which they say will compromise the privacy of phone users contrary to the law.

Senators now want Communication Authority Director General Ezra Chiloba to answer questions over the government’s plans to roll out the installation of what they have branded ‘a surveillance gadget’ in mobile phones.

The move comes after Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei petitioned the Senate to investigate the installation of the mobile system.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi approved the request and directed the Information and Communications Technology Committee to take up the matter.

The Nandi lawmaker, while presenting his petition on the floor of the House, wants the Communication Authority to explain the rationale for its installation and why telecommunication service providers were not involved.

According to Cherargei, the planned rollout and implementation of DMS is likely to infringe on people’s privacy as well as compromise the security of phone users’ data. “The committee should explain why CA could not engage telecommunication companies to create an equipment identification register known as EIR on mobile phones instead of installing the DMS,” read his statement.

Lawmaker also demands an explanation of the measures in place to curb the misuse of DMS owing to its ability to access private data including call records, messages, locations and mobile financial transactions.

CA got the nod on April 21 when the Supreme Court dismissed an application by the Law Society of Kenya that had sought to stop the implementation as it would lead to intrusion into the private data of users.

Authority mooted the idea back in 2016, and invited bidders through a tender notice for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning and maintenance of the system. Already, the communications regulator has denied that DMS has the capacity to access phone records, location, and mobile money transaction.

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