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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

UHURU VS SAFARICOM, AIRTEL: 10 TARGETED IN DATA COLLECTION

Phone records from the post-election period for 10 personalities mostly pro-Kibaki including current President Uhuru Kenyatta's (both Safaricom and Airtle lines), a former State House operative, a Naivasha politician, among others were procured from mobile operators Safaricom and Airtel by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda late last month and early July.

Without getting into the merits of the case filed by Stephen Kay in court, suffice to say, these two mobile operators are being sued most likely for providing personal data, call log records, to third parties.

Sources inside Safaricom indicate there were at least 10 notable personalities whose call logs from around that period the ICC wanted and came with a letter to that effect. Lawyers oversaw the pulling of the records including numbers they called, numbers that called them and how frequently.

An ICC lawyer, a lawyer for defense and one other likely from the State/AG's office were on hand as the records were retrieved indicating the ICC is still gathering evidence.

The lawyers demanded to know about the process of getting those records as well as other details like locations when calls were being made based on nearest BTS/Masts and so on. The exercise begun at Safaricom before moving to Airtel. Some of the numbers they wanted investigated did not show up as registered to anyone in the records.

Acquitted personalities Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali's records were not requested for. This latest effort by the ICC then, seems geared specifically aimed at building the Uhuru Kenyatta case and may have informed the move to court by the president's counsel Stephen Kay.

Incidents like these, or the Eric Snowden spygate case involving US government access of personal data from Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc will serve to remind many of the need to pass the Data Protection Bill which we have been talking about for years. Europe which does not take such issues lightly has asked the US Attorney-General to explain clearly if European citizens were affected by these surveillance efforts something that could be costly for US firms found to have passed on data on Europeans to the US government.

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