The High Court suspended the decision by Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) to allow Finserve Africa Ltd, a subsidiary of Equity Bank to roll-out the thin SIM technology after a successful application by Kituo Cha Sheria.

Judge George Odunga provisionally blocked the process after the legal advice centre claimed that primary SIMs of millions of mobile phone customers risk being compromised in an irreparable manner. 

The lobby group accused CA of ignoring the Kenya Information and Communication Act and Consumer Protection Regulation 2010, saying: “The Communication Authority hurriedly authorised the use of the thin SIM technology in spite of legitimate concerns regarding security of data on the primary SIM that shall be overlaid by the thin SIM,” terming the decision to license the use of thin SIM technology prior to complete audit on the cards’ security as ‘i*****l.’

Speaking before the parliamentary committee on Energy, Communications and Information, ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said despite the ongoing debate concerning the susceptibility of the privacy of the users, the approval by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is enough proof it is fit for use.

He called on all shareholders in the industry to allow for the one year pilot period given by CA and at least give a chance to Kenyans to make a decision about the thin SIM. Last month Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi said the bank expected to receive about five million thin SIMs in the next few weeks before the authorized launch of the technology.

The bank has distributed at least 200,000 normal SIM cards for customers with dual SIM handsets as well as selling phones to those without.

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