The Kenyan regulatory system has eventually been allowed to regulate the digital landscape to curb fraudulent activities having deploy the Device Management System (DMS) surveillance technology. The Kenyan Communication Authority (CA) has been agitating for the deployment of surveillance technology to curb fraudulent activities for almost a decade until this breakthrough.
The DMS technology deployment is a significant development for the Communication Authority of Kenya which has reportedly filed a vote of confidence to legitimize the surveillance utility. The CA encountered several legal hurdles that stalled the deployment of the surveillance system impacted by human rights activists such as KHRC and local telecom service providers such as Safaricom.
The Kenyan telecom giant has adamantly discredited the DMS technology in avoidance to integrate the surveillance utility with its network portfolio to protect users’ privacy. However, the surveillance technology proposed by the CA is drafted to protect the local telecom landscape which requires the indulgence of the network service providers.
The DMS campaign started in 2017, drafted by the previous CA director general, the late Francis Wangusi, who discovered the SIM Box used for illegal communication. Wangusi filed multiple complaints about its inland populace indulging in illegal international calls between the Rwandan and Kenyan axis.
According to the late director general’s complaints, 74% of Kenyans have used the SIM Box utility to initiate international calls to Rwandans. This is a labeled fraud whereby the SIM Box poses as a disguise utility that masks users’ identity as locales of an international region.
It is worth noting that the SIM utility impacts revenue loss on the telecom landscape because network service providers make ends meet via international calls that generate bountiful revenue. This led to the deployment of DMS technology to curb fraudulent activities powered by the SIM Box utility to maximize revenue inflow.
The DMS technology is projected as an installation tool that monitors locales’ text messages and phone calls — a technology that detects fraud. For context, the deployment of the surveillance utility does not insinuate that the CA will install the DMS technology on every indigene of Kenya, but will rather oblige network service providers to install the surveillance utility to track users’ devices.
The installation of the DMS technology on the likes of Safaricom network and that of its peers stirred the rejection of the CA’s policy which the telecom giants later considered as why the SIM Box utility needed regulating. At the time, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) opposed CA’s policy and filed a lawsuit against the regulator and the telecom service providers for harbouring intentions to violate customers’ privacy.
All these happened in 2017 when Wangusi drafted the surveillance policy that sprung the KHRC to defend human rights. The KHRC is keen on allowing mobile network users to consent to the agreement to be monitored or not — since third parties will administer the DMS technology users’ rights should not be shirked.
However, several espionage-related issues have reportedly impacted the sabotage of the DMS technology having involved ranked regulators, yet the Kenyan supreme court sees fit for the surveillance utility to be deployed to keep the Kenyan population in check and balance crime indulgence to standardize living per healthy revenue.