Court to rule on thin SIM case in January

December 4, 2014
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Judge Isaac Lenaola on Thursday said he will deliver his verdict next year after parties in the case made their final submissions/FILE
Judge Isaac Lenaola on Thursday said he will deliver his verdict next year after parties in the case made their final submissions/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – The High Court will determine in January whether a mobile operator associated with Equity Bank should roll out the thin SIM technology.

Judge Isaac Lenaola on Thursday said he will deliver his verdict next year after parties in the case made their final submissions.

Advocate Wambua Kilonzo for the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) urged the court to dismiss Bernard Murage’s petition which is contesting the rollout, on grounds that Finserve Africa Ltd has not provided any safeguard measures on the vulnerability of over eight million account holders’ personal data in Equity’s possession.

Kilonzo argued that Murage, an advocate of data protection through had failed to demonstrate which information will be infringed by the respondents if the technology is rolled out.

Justice Lenaola heard the petitioner has nothing to worry about since there are enough laws to protect the thin SIM technology.

“The Communications Authority has communicated to Finserve Africa that thin SIM technology will be withdrawn if there are any vulnerabilities,” he argued.

Kilonzo explained to the court that all considerations were taken into account and recommendations made to ensure that all security threats are taken care of.

He claimed that most consumers have no problem with thin SIM technology because they will not be required to buy dual SIM cards.

“The market should be allowed to be the final arbiter in this matter because most of the consumers prefer the technology,” he added.

However, the petitioner through lawyer Dennis Kirwa urged the court to strike a balance between the economic interests of the respondents and the threats and harm the consumers are likely to face.

“If the technology is rolled out it should safeguard all consumer related issues raised in the petition,” the court heard.

Finserve Ltd has already rolled out mobile telephony services and is using the prefix 0763 and is strongly opposed to the suit on grounds that it has imported thin SIM’s at considerable expense.

Murage seeks to restrain the Communication Authority of Kenya and Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) from making any decision or directive in respect to the thin SIM technology roll-out until the matter is finalised.

The petitioner claims that Equity Bank intends to roll out its thin SIM technology on a one year trial basis without providing any safeguard on the vulnerability of over eight million account holders’ personal data in their possession.

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