Why Kenyans Don’t Care About Their Own Breach of Privacy

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Why Kenyans Don't Care About Their Own Breach of Privacy

The following incident shows why Kenyans ignore their own breach of privacy. A lady called Laura goes to a telecommunications company’s shop for a service. She fills out a registration sheet with her details. Later, an agent from the shop who served her decides to hit on her via WhatsApp. He takes her contact details from the form she fills out and sends her a message and his photo.

Laura rebukes the person for the breach of privacy. She threatens to report him to his employer. All this time, this person thinks what he has done is right. He thinks it is not wrong for him to pick her contact details and get in touch outside of his workplace. He thinks that he did not in any way commit a breach of privacy.

Laura takes screenshots of their conversation and posts them on Twitter. She tags several reknowed people and includes the concerned telecommunications company. The company assures her they will follow up on the matter. However, she gets bizarre and callous responses from many people who see her tweet. They become sarcastic and blame her for publicizing the matter on Twitter.

Those who blame her show no sympathy towards her or care about her breach of privacy. Instead, they sympathize with the agent from the telecommunications company. They blame her saying that, because of her ‘ignorance’, the person could lose his job. Some even hurl insults and sexual epithets at her.

The law protects Kenyans against breach of privacy

The situation becomes about blaming the victim and sympathizing with the perpetrator. I remember the same situation happened during the #MyDressMyChoice campaign. Many blamed the women for dressing indecently hence provoking the Matatu touts to strip them. Yet, the Matatu touts were the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

There are no excuses in this situation. The lady has the right to deal with the issue in the manner she thinks someone will listen. After all, she also speaks for many others whose rights are violated by persons they trust to keep their personal information private and confidential.

A breach of privacy involves improper or unauthorized collection, use, disclosure, retention or disposal of personal information.

 

Publicizing the incident on Twitter is her way of knowing that those concerned will follow up on the matter. All the attention her tweet received is enough to warrant a deep conversation on consumer rights to privacy. The Constitution guarantees the right to privacy.

The Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations are clear breach of privacy. Section 3 (1) says a customer shall have the right to—

(d) Personal privacy and protection against unauthorized use of personal information;

The ignorance portrayed by those who insulted her leaves a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. The person from the telecommunications company should know better. Ignorance is not a point of defense in law. Maybe, this is not the first time he has done the same thing.

See Also:  Who Really Cares About the Plight of Street Families in Kenya?

Keeping information private and confidential

To make matters worse, the form Laura fills out has all her private details. We are not only talking about her phone number. There are also details like her physical address. What if the person decides to stalk her? Wouldn’t he go straight to her house? Wouldn’t that put her life in danger?

When Laura goes to the shop, she is seeking a service. She is well aware that the information she provides is private and confidential. The company in question assures her that they will guarantee her privacy. Therefore, when she goes home, she does not expect someone from the company to breach her privacy for selfish reasons.

In fact, with the current trend of ‘fisi’ or ‘mafisi’, typically the group of men ‘hunting’ women for sexual gratification, she has all the right to be afraid.

Yet, those who insult and criticize her are ignorant. They propagate the hate against women that is on the rise.

Blaming the victim

Some even go as far as telling her that she should just ignore the person. Or tell him off and forget about it. Typically, many Kenyans love to forget and move on. They have a very short memory span.

Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it’s also about avoiding vulnerability (Psychology Today)

People who rush to blame and shame the victim lack empathy. When empathy is absent, it is hard not to blame the victims for their own predicament. Those who blame the victim in this case think she deserves what she gets. They think she deserves the blame for herown breach of privacy and the repercussions thereafter. By doing so, they exonerate the perpetrator.

Typically, blaming the victim aids in helping the perpetrator evade the blame or responsibility for their own actions.

Therefore, Laura is justified to act the way she did and thought she could be heard. Many people with their biases made the issue to be about the person from the telecommunications company losing his job. Maybe they do not know how it feels to have one’s rights violated. This incident clearly shows that Kenyans care very little about their own breach of privacy.

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George Gĩthĩnji comments on current political and social issues in Kenya. He is also passionate about devolved governance and public finance. He runs the @UgatuziKenya Twitter platform.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I beg to differ with you on this one.As much I don’t advocate for the unfortunate step taken by the employee, it’s also not quite true that the channel used by the lady is justifiable.The fact that she used a social media platform to report the matter portrays her as an attention-seeking woman.What if she would have just contacted the telecom in private?Am sure they would have still acted accordingly.Exposing the guys contact to all and sun dry was rather uncalled for and also amounts to breach of privacy.

  2. Wow! I enjoyed your point of argument.
    Before reading your stand, I was among the persons who were strongly opposed to the step taken by Laura.
    It’s making some sense now

  3. Very good article , it just shows what a rotten society we are, I could not help thinking what if that text was directed to a spouse, girlfriend of those who were hurling insults to Laura ,then the story would be different, truly pathetic lot we are.

  4. This chic though ,not in a bad wat but from the conversation it is clear the guy was upto nothing negative or evil

    Laws are always broken.It happens to most if not all ladies

    Here i support the guy

    • “Laws are always broken.It happens to most if not all ladies”. What if we said the same about rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, physical abuse, police brutality, etc? So because it happens to ‘most ladies’ then it should be considered normal? Where are we heading to as a society?

    • Caren, this is very skewed thinking, this is how this country is going to the dogs , He should have done an approach face to face and not lift a number from a confidential document entrusted to him by his employer , the same way it is now normal to be corrupt, kill and cheer on matatus as they do ”the normal” . Keep supporting such and good luck to all our children.

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