From Tuesday, the government wants to be allowed to listen to your calls, read your text messages and review your mobile money transactions.

The government, through the Communications Authority of Kenya, has ordered mobile phone companies to allow it to tap their computers.

The tapping into these computers will be done by a company contracted by the agency.

Though the reason given for the tapping is tracking counterfeit devices, the minute it starts, 40 million Kenyans will lose their privacy.

Usually, governments can listen to private conversations and access personal data, but by law they need to have a good reason and get a warrant from a judge.

Additionally, Kenya has no data protection law, so people who gain access to others’ personal information can abuse it.

The authority has already written to mobile phone service providers setting up dates for the plugging of the snooping device, with some as close as Tuesday next week.

It will involve the third party company getting hooked up to all routers at Safaricom, Airtel and Orange Telkom, effectively opening up private communication data to an entity other than those licensed to hold them and the government.