Communications Authority says new system not for espionage

Communications Authority says new system not for espionage

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Friday denied media reports that it is implementing a Device Management System (DMS) with intention of monitoring and snooping into private data of mobile phone users.
In a statement to newsrooms, CA director-general Francis Wangusi said the intended move is instead aimed at restraining spread of counterfeit devices illegally imported into the country for use by the public.

The authority said proliferation of fake gadgets is posing a serious challenge to mobile networks and subscribers, while at the same time degrading quality of service to users.

Some media reports on Thursday, quoting the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), said that CA had asked mobile network operators to allow its agents to plant gadgets on all mobile networks to gain access to information on mobile devices and details on subscribers’ voice calls and SMS messages, as well as mobile money transactions, which is against the law.

The reports had also suggested that CA’s move would compromise consumer privacy. But the authority said it only following criminal trade like money laundering being perpetuated on its network.

CA, following extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders including Cofek, facilitated the setup of an SMS-based mobile device verification service, through the “1555” short code, for use by consumers in confirming the status of mobile devices before purchase,” said Wangusi.
He said the DMS is able to isolate and repudiate services to the illegal devices with potential of being used for criminal intent to compromise security.

The set-up of the device verification system was undertaken with the understanding that there would be a second phase that would involve deployment of a more comprehensive system that would address importation of illegal devices, pre-shipment verification of devices as well as denial of service of devices already in the market,” he said.

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