Safaricom moves to keep client’s information private in Mpesa transactions

The long tussle on how safe is Safaricom’s clients information private has finally seen the telecommunication make a move that will see most user information kept private.
For long many have argued that Safaricom transactions through the Mpesa platform has always been revealing a lot of clients information thus exposing them to fraudsters and other targeted form of data harvesting institutions.
Now, Safaricom is set to introduce a new feature on Lipa na M-Pesa that will hide customer contact details to prevent misuse of personal information.
In the news changes, the transaction message on the vendors side will only display the first and last few digits of a phone number.
“The plan is to hide your number where it will display say the first two or three numbers and the last ones and block out the middle, just the way banks do,” said an executive at Safaricom.
According to a report by consultancy firm Ernst and Young, third party companies had obtained customer data from 41 percent of the companies holding the data.
Out of this figure, 53 percent did not seek the customer’s consent before sharing their personal information.
Some companies are said to be passing their client data to industry players, while some forward personal information to the authorities for investigations.
The data harvested by these companies is sold to third parties who in turn use it for advertising, analysis, sending bulk SMSs and processing transactions.
Making Safaricom and Mpesa services safe and secure has for long remained a nightmare for the giant telecommunication company in the region.
Recently Safricom introduced a security measure that bars anyone from registering a SIM card in your name without your authorization.
The new feature allows Safaricom to sent you a notification SMS to your parent phone to either allow or decline registration of a new SIM card in your name.
The move was following a public outcry where many had been defrauded after phone numbers registered under their names were used to commit the offenses.
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The same also allowed fraudsters to borrow mobile money using the illegally acquired SIM cards only for individuals to be listed by the Credit Reference Bureau for defaulting without their knowledge.

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