Safaricom collecting facial recognition data in new re-registration drive

Today I’ve received a message from Safaricom telling me to urgently visit any of their agents or shops to update my SIM registration. I’m sure many of you may have already received a similar message in the past months.

I’ve seen a number of people share their screenshots since November last year asking the company what’s up. But more so, why the “urgent” bit. I’ve not seen any clear answers as yet.

The Telco has explained the reason for the text is this: We are in the process of updating all our customer’s registration details so as to comply with the Communications Authority SIM registration KYC guidelines.

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Which is fine.

However, today in a response to my tweet, the telco has mentioned ‘Facial Recognition’ as part of the new data being collected in the drive.

A search on Twitter shows that this is a response they’ve been giving to users over the past few weeks. And the explanation given is that this is part of the new guidelines given by the regulator.

But a quick search on the CA website shows no requirements for facial recognition data collection anywhere. The Registration of SIM –Cards Regulations, 2015 doesn’t mention collection of facial data anywhere.

So maybe it was announced somewhere, and I’ve missed it. But wouldn’t that be a public announcement with running TVCs urging people to get their data updated?

Have you received the message? And have you visited a Safaricom shop for the updating of details? What data was collected? Please share.


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