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The State of Surveillance in Kenya is the result of an ongoing collaboration by Privacy International and National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya.

Right to Privacy

The constitution

Article 31 of the Constitution specifically protects the right to privacy. It states:

“Every person has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have—

(a) their person, home or property searched;
(b) their possessions seized;
(c) information relating to their family or private affairs unnecessarily required or revealed; or
(d) the privacy of their communications infringed.”

Furthermore, Article 2 of Kenya’s Constitution states that Kenya’s international obligations, such as its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which include privacy rights, are part of Kenyan domestic law. It states:

“(5) The general rules of international law shall form part of the law of Kenya.

(6) Any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of the law of Kenya under this Constitution.”

Regional and international conventions

Kenya is a signatory to or has ratified a number of international conventions with privacy implications, including:

Communication Surveillance


The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) collects statistics on the communications sector. Mobile penetration was recorded at 83.9% in June 2015, with 36.1 million mobile subscriptions. There were an estimated 29.6 million internet users in Kenya in June 2015, with 69% of the population having access to the internet, according to the CA.

Social media is widely used in Kenya. According to a June 2015 report by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook have “become an effective tool through which Kenyans can write on topics of interest to them as well as exercise their freedom to free speech.”

Popular platforms include Twitter and Facebook. Facebook had 4 million Kenyan users in June 2015. Kenya had over 700,000 confirmed monthly active users on Twitter, the majority of which accessed Twitter on a daily basis.


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