Kenyans Don’t Care About Their Breach of Privacy

The following actual incident shows how Kenyans ignore their own breach of privacy. A lady goes to a telecommunications company’s shop for a service. She fills out a registration sheet with her details.

Later, a male 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.

She rebukes the agent for the breach of privacy. She threatens to report him to his employer. All this time, this agent 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.

She takes screenshots of their conversation and posts them on Twitter. She tags several renowned 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.

There are no excuses for 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 the 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 on 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 agent from the telecommunications company should know better. Ignorance is not a point of defence in law. Maybe, this is not the first time he has done the same thing.

Keeping information private and confidential

To make matters worse, the form the lady 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 the lady goes to the telecommunication company’s shop, she is seeking, she is confident that the information she provides will be private and confidential. Therefore, the company in question assures her automatically that they will guarantee her privacy.

Therefore, when she goes home, she does not expect someone from the company to breach her privacy for self-centred reasons.

In fact, with the 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.

Blaming the victim

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

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 here think she deserves what she gets. They think she deserves the blame she gets for her own 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, the lady in question 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 agent from the telecommunications company losing his job. Maybe they do not know how it feels to another violate their rights.

This incident shows clearly that many Kenyans care very little about their own breach of privacy. This is alarming especially with the increasing situations of breach of privacy by governments and multinationals which puts individual lives at stake.

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About githinji

I love writing content that is insightful and informative. The articles I write have a common #1 goal: Keeping it as simple as possible for users to understand the content.Read More

10 thoughts on “Kenyans Don’t Care About Their Breach of Privacy”

  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? I’m sure they would have still acted accordingly. Exposing the guy’s contacts to all and sundry was rather uncalled for and also amounts to a breach of privacy.

    • As I said, there are no ‘buts’ in this situation. When you blame the victim, you shield the perpetrator from culpability and responsibility for their actions.

  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 the lady. It’s making some sense now

    • Thank you. I decided to bring sanity to the whole issue in a way people could understand that normalizing such an issue is distasteful.

  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 spouses or girlfriends of those who were hurling insults at the lady? Then the story would be different. A truly pathetic lot we are.

  4. This chic though, not in a bad way, but from the conversation, it is clear the guy was up to 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 a very skewed way of thinking. This is how this country is going to the dogs. He should have done the approaching 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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