WAMBUGU: Phones are vital tools for whistle-blowing - Daily Nation

Phones are vital tools for whistle-blowing

Sunday August 19 2018

Omarosa Manigault Newman

Omarosa Manigault Newman (left) appears alongside President Donald Trump. This week, Omarosa, a former White House staff, released a series of damaging recordings of conversations with White House officials and President Trump. These days, snooping and wiretapping go beyond just recording phone conversations . PHOTO | TIMOTHY A. CLARY | AFP 

By SAM WAMBUGU
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This week, Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House staff released a series of damaging recordings of conversations with White House officials and President Trump. Expectedly, this act infuriated President Trump who hit back with a stream of stinging tweets.

Here at home, a video clip carrying a conversation between Governor Sonko and his Kiambu counterpart Governor Waititu surfaced on social media. In what is obviously a delicate conversation involving two top ranking public officers and wife of Governor Waititu, it is inexplicable why a leader would tape his friend and share such a touchy recording with the world.

WIRETAPPING

For Governor Sonko, this is his stock in trade. He has recorded other private conversation between him and his friends, and made the tape public. This is the new way of wiretapping. It shatters trust to pieces.

These days, snooping and wiretapping go beyond just recording phone conversations. It includes capturing screenshots of conversations and publishing them without the consent of the person or persons on the conversation. This kind of infringement of private conversations is obviously abhorred, unless of course the taping is meant to resolve a social evil.

PAINFUL

It is invasive to surreptitiously take pictures or video record people in their private space without warning. Courtesy demands that you seek permission first if you are interested in taking pictures of people in private. Of course there is exception to the rule — public figures. By ascending to the public office, public figures kiss bye to their privacy.

Those who itch to use their phones to share privileged content invariably show and tell more about themselves, their poor judgement, even when they want to score some points. Some people are as insensitive as to attempt to squeeze humour out of painful situations.

VIOLATING

Phones are also important tools for capturing and sharing evidence that is critical in resolving difficult issues in the society. For example, a bystander recently recorded a man pummeling his wife. The clip did rounds in the social media and caught the eyes of those in authority. This led to the apprehending and prosecution of the abusive man, saving the life of his hapless wife.

Likewise, we can use phones to capture people misusing public resources or violating the vulnerable in the society. For example, one way to add steam to the raging fight against corruption would be to whip out a phone and capture evidence that could help deter or unravel corruption cases. It’s a perfect tool of whistle-blowing. Given the millions of phones in our pockets, we can make it uncomfortable to abet crime with abandon.

The writer is an informatics specialist. E-mail: [email protected] @samwambugu2