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Kenya’s Anti-Counterfeit “Device Management System” Can Lead to Surveillance

Counterfeit products, specifically mobile devices have become a problem in Kenya. Recently the Kenyan government has unveiled a plan to combat this issue but it may present another problem.

After many years, the Kenyan government was granted permission from the Supreme Court to implement The Device Management System (DMS). This plan combats counterfeit devices by accessing each mobile device’s identification number.

According to Kenya’s Communication Authority, the intentions of the Kenyan government are to address national security concerns including blocking the use of illegal mobile devices, minimise mobile device theft, rid the market of counterfeit devices, stop SIM box fraud and mitigate revenue loss from mobile operators within the region. Further, the authority holds that the integration of a DMS is necessary in accordance with Kenya’s international obligations.

This Device Management System however, opens up future possibilities that compromise the individual privacy of Kenyan citizens through the use of surveillance.

Many experts believe that this level of surveillance is “excessive”. When Safaricom, the largest telecoms company in Kenya, was approached to implement DMS, the request was denied after skepticism regarding data privacy.

From The Shadows Emerges Knowledge



Article contributed by Anthony DiTaranto