Kenya is preparing for presidential elections that will take place next month and ahead of it, the nation is giving a close look to its cyber- security preparedness. Systems are being set up to make things virtually secure but this is not all that may take place, says an international group. Kenya may also be amping up its surveillance systems at the same time, they believe.
Outside the purview of legal framework
According to the international group, Privacy International, in Kenya, the National Intelligence Service does not fall under the jurisdiction of the legal framework in place for the rest of the country's citizens. This could mean that the NIS encroaches on the privacy of other entities or individuals, which will not be allowed if it were answerable like the residents of the country. NIS is the entity that wields key influence over the Kenyan cyber security systems that are in place and this gives it the perfect path to tweak these systems in such a way that they may infringe on privacy.
Focus on early detection systems
It is believed that the NIS will focus heavily on establishing and improving early warning system as part of its cyber- security improvement measures. Two key systems, the Network Early Warning System and the National Intrusion Detection and Prevention System, are believed to be on the main agenda. The strategy and the keen interest in improving systems is a result of the recent ransomware attacks that affected nations and businesses worldwide. In Kenya alone, it is estimated that businesses have faced a loss of about $175 million in the past year alone owing to cyber-crime.
Opposition from the National Super Alliance
Political opponents, the National Super Alliance, have criticized the move and said that the President is paving the way for electoral fraud with all this talk about boosting cyber security. They have said that the strategy of the ruling political party is to set up a system that can disrupt communications during elections. Earlier they had questioned the victory of President Kenyatta in the elections, stating that a nexus had been formed between his party and other players who had allowed electoral fraud to be committed. This nexus included the electoral commission. While the Supreme Court has dismissed the claims and upheld Kenyatta's electoral win, it has not dissuaded the opposition party from raising the same question again in face of the proposed cybersecurity improvements.