Safaricom has made a crucial step in preventing users data from being traded to unauthorized advertisers or fraudsters.
At the end of June, the telecommunications company will start blocking its customers’ contact details when making payments through Lipa Na M-PESA.
Messages sent to businesses using the platform will display the first name of Safaricom subscribers and a few digits of their phone, Business Daily reported.
This way, Safaricom believes it will effectively hide users’ personal information.
A correspondence sent to merchants read;
“At the end of June, phone numbers and full names of subscribers making transactions will no longer be relayed to partners. Only the first name will be passed along and the phone number of the subscriber making the transaction will be masked (obfuscated)
“For example, if a person named John Doe with a phone number +254(redacted) makes a payment the only data that will be passed along is [John, +2547XXXXX654].”
The model is in line with the data protection law which was enacted in 2019 to protect privacy.
Business owners tend to use the personal information to send unsolicited advertising through text messages.
The information can also be sold to third parties.
“Pursuant to the Data Protection Act 2019 which came into law on 25th November 2019, Safaricom will be changing how they share data with Lipa Na M-Pesa Partners in general
“Safaricom and its partners are required to take action to minimise the use and transfer of sensitive data such as names and phone numbers during the processing of transactions,” Safaricom said.