The advancement in phone Technology has seen the worst come out of the police service that is so colonial and oppressive in its ways.
There’s a street joke about the Kenyan police shooting first then asking questions later.
“According to media reports, between October 2018 and September 2019, the Kenyan police killed 189 people. The average age of those killed was 28, and in 75 per cent of these cases, the police allege that the victims were criminals and thugs, even where there is compelling evidence to the contrary. And as most of the victims were in informal settlements and away from the middle-and-upper-class gaze, the crime narrative is rarely challenged”.
Telcos as aid to the extra-judicial executions
In 2014, Safaricom Plc signed a Sh15 billion security tender with the government. Parliament questioned the tendering process that gave Safaricom the project.
What Safaricom built is a surveillance system that has been used to track down and kill or harras Kenyans, especially bloggers and people perceived as enemies of the state.
Safaricom offered a lot, from video surveillance to digital radios, to video conferencing system, to the central command for the communication system and a mapping system. This is quite a surveillance system.
Enemies of the state is a loose term for those who ask important questions as pertains corruption, mismanagement and run-away looting of Kenya.
Safaricom, in a whiff of a hand, became the greatest threat to Kenyans, where policemen attached to the company, have compete access to every data they want. This is according to a report that Kenyans have chosen to forger so quickly.
The ‘Track, Capture and Kill’ Inside Communications Surveillance and Counterterrorism in Kenya, a report by Privacy International organisation states add that no court of law warrants are produced when asking for data about a person of interest. Why? if one doesn’t comply, their business licenses can be revoked.
One internet service provider recalled the difference between his experiences with the police and with the NIS: “A [police] agency comes to me, and they give me the Occurrence Book (OB) number of the case they are investigating…. The NIS has unfettered access to data.” The NIS simply contacted this operator for the data it required. “They will say ‘give us [data for] whenever X calls Y over this time period’, for example…In instances involving terrorism, no warrants are produced. We have to comply or there is the threat that our licenses [will] be revoked.” A Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) officer confirmed his account: “they’ll get their license revoked [if they do not comply]… If I were them, I’d comply too”. reads part of the report.
What these businesses don’t say is that there are laws and international best preactices that can be used to improve governance and rule of law for any country. By supporting illegal regimes which come into power on the back of open rigging of elections through their private associations such as the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), they’ve invited the rogue state upon themselves. The point is, ‘nothing cannot be resisted’.
Safaricom has variously argued that they provide information that has already been asked by courts, but that is further from the truth as pertains to what bloggers like Cyprian Nyakundi have had to deal with.
Many times, the blogger fingered the Telco for giving away his data to the security agencies. Some even without ongoing cases.
In fact, according to the aforementioned report, Telcos fall over themselves to provide data to security agencies unprovoked.
Telecommunications operators often perceive that they have a duty to preserve national security. “No one’s going to say no,” says a senior source at one of Kenya’s mobile operators. “And think about it. If one of the guys who attacked Westgate was using the [mobile operator’s] money SIM card, who am I to say no?… I’ll give it up very clearly… If the NIS just shows up at 2 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, we’re
investigating, and we need all this, for all these numbers, that I know nothing about? What the hell am I supposed to do?” reads another part of the report.
Having a market share of over 60 per cent and a mobile financial services market share of nearly 100 per cent, makes you have very huge data about Kenyan way of life and financial transaction.
The report says a liasion officer from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on secondment has an office at the Telco, however, the National Intelligence Service ones are ‘not stated’ but they are present under cover.
In Kenya, law enforcement agents are physically present within telecommunications operators’ facilities, formally, with providers’ knowledge. NIS agents are also informally present in the telecommunication operators’ facilities, apparently undercover, according to current and former Safaricom, CA, and NIS staff interviewed by Privacy
Safaricom denied most allegations but the truth is out there.
An MP was killed inside Nairobi CBD, but the Cameras didn’t catch a thing.
A controversial businessman was also gunned down inside a well-populated area with CCTV cameras, but the cameras were blind.
How then do we justify such misuse of public resources to build systems that are there ostensibly to protect them but which don’t actually protect but spy on for oppressive purposes?
The Kenyan police are said to be working on a ‘new CCTV’ cameras contract. However, lest we forget, before Safaricom installed its systems, Nairobi County Government under former Governor Evans Kidero had already installed such a system.
What will this third system installation help Nairobians with?
By pegging its need to solving the traffic and mugging menace, the tenderpreneurs are just dangling a carrot on gullible Kenyans who don’t read reports or make out political discourse.
Don’t be one, read reports and learn, Agitate.
Click this link to read the ‘Track, Capture and Kill’ Inside Communications Surveillance and Counterterrorism in Kenya,