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Kenya’s Safaricom says national police surveillance system live

May 27, 2015 • East Africa, Mobile and Telecoms, Security, Top Stories

New national surveillance system now live in Kenya (Nairobi skyline. Image source: Shutterstock.com)

New national surveillance system now live in Kenya (Nairobi skyline. Image source: Shutterstock.com)

Kenya’s Safaricom says a new national police surveillance system has gone live. Despite a number of groups voicing concerns over the new system and what it could mean for privacy in the East African country, the country has gone ahead with the system.

The KES 14.9 billion National Surveillance, Communication and Control System links all major security agencies, making it easy to share information and direct operations.

The telecom operator said the project involved connecting 195 police stations in Nairobi and Mombasa to 4G Internet.

The system aims at assisting police and other law enforcement agencies with combatting terrorism and other criminal activity.

Upon completion, the system will be operated by the national police service under the expertise of a core team comprising senior officers from the National Police Service and communications experts.

Under the deal signed with the government, Safaricom committed to “undertake the full cost of delivering the KES 14.9 billion project (exclusive of taxes) to the government.”

Beginning November 2016, the government is expected to start paying for the system in installments.

“Safaricom has installed tamper-proof, high definition and ultra-high definition CCTV cameras across Mombasa and Nairobi that will be connected to a national command and control room,” the company said. “The system will have analytical capabilities allowing for facial and movement recognition from the CCTV footage that will be relayed to the command and control center in real time.”

Police will also be equipped with walkie-talkies with cameras to take pictures at crime scenes for assessment and evidence. The pictures can be then sent in real time to the command and control center. The walkie-talkies will also have tracking capabilities to improve disaster response.

“This will make it easy to locate police officers closest to a crime scene for faster response,” said the statement. The system will enable security personnel to monitor areas under surveillance, detect any security incident, help direct police response and monitor the flow of people and traffic especially in town centers.

Joseph Mayton

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