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LSK Moves To Supreme Court To Challenge Gov’t Plan To Access Mobile Phone Data

The Law Society of Kenya is challenging a decision by the Court of Appeal allowing the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) roll out the Device Management System (DMS), a system which will allow the government access individual mobile numbers together with their phone activity and locations.

Through Lawyer Dudley Ochiel, LSK said that if CA proceeds to take action based on the decision, it will contravene the human right to privacy as the government will gain access to people’s phone records at their own convenience and even share the information with third parties for ulterior motives.

“The appellate court made a mistake in ruling that it was premature to challenge the DMS system when the government has already started the process of compelling mobile providers to share information of subscribers,” said Mr Ochiel.

Kenyans have a legitimate expectation to live a quiet life with minimal external interference and the decision by the court of appeal will infringe on that privacy. LSK is concerned that with the court of Appeal decision, the government will start spying on people’s lives and affairs including their family members.

In 2017, Activist Okiya Omtatah went to court to challenge the government’s intention to roll out the DMS. The activist got a ruling in his favour as High Court Judge John Mativo stopped CA from rolling out the system, citing lack of public participation and illegality in the system’s infringement of private lives.

However, CA appealed against that decision and in April, Court of Appeal judges William Ouko, Martha Koome and Daniel Musinga overturned the High court ruling.

LSK now want the Supreme Court to reinstate the decision by the High Court stopping the government from rolling out the DMS.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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