During 2019 Benedict Kabugi, a Safaricom customer, laid charges against the telecommunications company for leaking his data along with the data of other 11,5 million other customers. Specifically, on 20 May 2019 Kabugi reports that he was approached by someone in possession of a database containing the personal details of 11,5 million Safaricom customers which also contained their sports betting transaction history.

On the same day, Kabugi went to a police station to lay a charge against Safaricom.

Since then, the case and hype around it seemed to have slowed down. However, some information has come to light that, Charles Kimani, an ex-Safaricom employee, has implicated the company by saying that it allegedly sells customers’ data without the customers' knowledge or consent.

Charles Kimani and others were arrested by Kenya's police for being in possession of the database, that case is ongoing separately from the data leak case.

In his handwritten statement to Kenya’s Police (starting from page 18 onwards), Kimani makes some allegations that Safaricom sells customers data to various service providers. This, the selling of Safaricom customer data, especially to betting companies and micro-lenders, has always been a suspicion by many Kenyans.

These allegations seem to support what many people in Kenya have wondered about, i.e. how it was possible for micro-lenders and betting companies to not only have their mobile numbers but also their names so they could send them personalized marketing messages.

From page 18 onwards of his statement to Kenya's Police, Charles Kimani (ex-Safaricom employee) alleges that the telecommunications company sells customer data to other service providers.

The invasion of privacy issue is obvious if these allegations against Safaricom are true. It has also been frustrating to get any comment out of Safaricom on these allegations and police reports for several months since 2019. To date, the company has yet to respond to any questions or communications that iAfrikan has sent.

For me though, the bigger question is what else is Safaricom, or other telecommunications companies doing that we are not aware of. I believe this is a valid question considering the amount of data, communications, and transactions that go through telcos every single day.

Share this via: