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Snooping on citizens’ phone calls not uncommon worldwide

By Dominic Omondi | February 17th 2017

News that the Government plans to listen to your private calls is certainly going to kick off a storm.

Never mind that Kenya's Constitution explicitly frowns against infringing on a citizen's private communications.

Constitutional lawyers will search the breadth of the earth on how different governments have approached this delicate issue.

Governments globally from such democratic states as the US to dictatorial regimes such as China's Communist Party, once in a while snoop on their citizens telephone conversation, mining for what they believe is important information.

In 2010, President Yoweri Museveni signed into law the Regulation of Interception of Communications Bill, 2010, which gave powers to security officials to listen into private communication if they had sufficient reason to suspect the conversation was in aid of criminal activity.

In in 2012, an Ethiopian working with United Nations security officer was jailed for seven years after being found guilty of violating anti-terrorism laws in Ethiopia.

Abdirahman Sheikh Hassan was arrested after the authorities wire-tapped phone conversations he had with Sherif Badio, a leader of the proscribed ONLF leader in Australia.

In the US, the Federal Government is said to have until September 2011 been keeping secret records of Americans' international telephone calls of nearly a decade.

This was rather a scary information to a US public that had been assured that their right to privacy was inalienable.

Citizens of the United Kingdom, have also had the same problem with fears that Big Brother might be prying into their private lives.

This was especially the case after Safaricom's shareholder Vodafone revealed that authorities used secret wires across its entire network which includes 29 countries.

Vodafone has a 40 per cent in Kenya's Safaricom.

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