Accepted paper:

Countering terrorism in Kenya: navigating between intrusive, indiscriminate and effectiveness of digital surveillance in the wake of transnational waves of terrorism

Authors:

Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen (Technical University of Mombasa)

Paper short abstract:

This article seeks to explore digital surveillance in countering the terrorist threat in Kenya in relation to intrusiveness, proportionality, indiscrimination and effectiveness amidst the complex surveillance-privacy rights context.

Paper long abstract:

The need for surveillance and the focus on mass surveillance have had implications in the indiscriminate nature of the construction of suspect communities based on ethnic and religious nature, due to the nature of countering religiously aligned fundamentalist ideologies. Further, the need for an increase in surveillance has negatively affected the privacy rights of individuals and curtailed efforts of institutions mainly working with human rights. In Kenya, the balance between state surveillance and individual privacy rights is greatly impacted due to an increase in surveillance attributed to a series of terrorist attacks in Kenya and the impetus to join the GWOT. The existing counter-terrorism policies attest to the fact that the Kenyan public security strategies involve the strong surveillance role. Complexities and an increase in modern transnational crime and terrorism within a global technologically fluid environment obligate the law enforcement officials to ensure greater public security under unpredictable circumstances of preventive law enforcement. These new and emerging surveillance practices as a result of digital techniques and technologies have brought in a change in the power, intensity, and scope for surveillance. This article explores digital surveillance in countering the terrorist threat in Kenya in relation to intrusiveness, proportionality, indiscrimination, and effectiveness amidst the complex surveillance-privacy rights context. Based on a qualitative study, the article comprises of an exploratory analysis of the nature of digital surveillance in Kenya in relation to the trends of online radicalization and recruitment; and, individual privacy concerns of individuals in relation to privacy rights and civil life.

panel Pol31
Digital technologies and the politics of data in Africa