The Kenyan Supreme Court has approved the installation and usage of the Device Management System on all mobile phones in order to combat counterfeit gadgets.
The use of DMS was initially proposed in 2017 by the Communications Authority of Kenya, which was already testing the system across the country at the time.
According to reports, DMS would employ mobile networks to remotely examine devices’ International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers and outlaw counterfeits.
However, the idea was blocked in 2018, but the Court of Appeal overturned the decision in 2020, allowing the CAK to continue developing DMS. In October 2022, CAK resurrected the application for rollout.
Mobile network operators, particularly Safaricom, have lobbied against the adoption of the DMS, claiming that the software will provide Kenya’s communications regulator access to user data such as calls and texts.
For the same privacy concerns, the Law Society of Kenya petitioned the Supreme Court in October to halt the implementation of the DMS.
The Supreme Court dismissed all challenges, citing the CAK’s regulatory act as having the authority to supervise compliance with its legislation.
This decision will result in the establishment of an Equipment Identification Register, which will detect all devices, isolate unlawful ones, and deny service to fraudulent devices.