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The National Intelligence Service (NIS) Is Seeking Powers to Access Phone Messages and Emails Of Suspected Criminals

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The National Intelligence Service (NIS)is about to cause some serious drama with a Bill tabled in parliament seeking unfiltered access to phone messages and emails of suspected criminals. Currently the NIS has to get a warrant from the high court if it wants to spy on private messages of suspected criminals.

According to The Standard the Bill proposes the deletion of section 36 (2) of the current act, on limitation to right to privacy as enshrined in Article 31 of the Constitution, that provides for the court’s participation.

The section that will be amended reads, “the right to privacy may be limited in respect of a person suspected to have committed an offence to the extent that the privacy of a person’s communications may be investigated, monitored or otherwise interfered with”.

Requiring a warrant to access private messages ensures the privacy of individuals is protected and allows government agents to keep track of the activities of suspected criminals. Moving to change this and give absolute powers to the NIS is retrogressive in my opinion. From now on, the NIS will be able to spy on anyone they see as a criminal without proving to the courts that the said individual is really a criminal. I know we all want a safe country but are we willing to abuse the privacy of some individual who may be innocent just for that. Do not get me wrong, there are some individuals who are carry out criminal activities and they need to be monitored but there should be a system that determines they are truly criminals before their private lives are spied on.

We cannot keep going backwards as a country and for NIS to even think this is move is the right one confuses me. If someone is a criminal, there should be legal ways to follow to access the information required to take him or her to court, we cannot just let the NIS decide that someone is a criminal and then secretly get personal information that they may or may not use in court.

Let us just hope that the members of the National Assembly come to their sense and prevent this bill from passing.

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Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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