Safaricom to Start Hiding Identity of Subscribers on Lipa na M-Pesa

Sourced from Tech Weez.

Safaricom will start hiding contact details of customers making payments through Lipa na M-Pesa at the end of June to curb trade and leaking of personal information to advertisers and fraudsters.

“Pursuant to the Data Protection Act 2019 which came into law on 25th November 2019, Safaricom will be changing how they share data with Lipa Na M-Pesa Partners in general,” says Safaricom, East Africa’s largest telecom group, about its new privacy shift.

According to Business Daily, the telco will only display the first name of subscribers who are making payments through the platform and a few digits of their phone number.

Safaricom seems to be adopting the same model as the one used by banks in Kenya, in line with the data protection law, which was enacted in 2019 to protect privacy.

“At the end of June, phone numbers and full names of subscribers making transactions will no longer be relayed to partners,” Safaricom told merchants.

“Only the first name will be passed along and the phone number of the subscriber making the transaction will be masked (obfuscated). For example, if a person named John Doe with a phone number +254(redacted) makes a payment the only data that will be passed along is [John, +2547XXXXX654],” the telco wrote.

Currently, users of Lipa na M-Pesa leave their contact details with a number of merchants and in return reportedly receive much-unsolicited advertising.

“Safaricom and its partners are required to take action to minimise the use and transfer of sensitive data such as names and phone numbers during the processing of transactions,” said the giant telco company.

A survey by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) shows that 41 percent of firms transferred client data to third-party service providers. 53 percent of these companies or 21.7 percent of firms captured in the EY survey did not seek the approval of their customers, Business Daily reported.

By Zintle Nkohla 

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