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Italians reject bid to close Kahawa Tungu

An apparent government request to have a website associated with controversial blogger Robert Alai to be brought down was rejected by an Italian company contacted to provide an internet hacking system.

After the request was received by the Hacking Team, a company that specialises in developing systems for intercepting and spying on Internet communications, the company’s Operations Manager Ms Daniele Milan wrote back expressing her discomfort.

Controversial Blogger Robert Alai

Controversial Blogger Robert Alai

The July 5 letter addressed to the company’s Key Account manager in charge of Kenya, Mr Emad Shehata, noted that the request was coming from a private company purportedly on behalf of a cyber-security outfit in the Office of the President.

It also noted that the targeted Kahawa Tungu website was dedicated to fighting corruption.

“The person who wrote us is from a private communication company in Kenya that sells pay TV services, and the URL they asked us to tear down is a news website that is highlighting corruption and other wrongdoings in the Kenya government. I don’t think we want to be involved with this”, wrote Ms Milan according to documents released by online whistleblower, WikiLeaks.

Earlier, Mr Shehata had written to the Kenyan intermediaries – a Mr Chris Kinyanjui from a private telecommunications company and Mr Eric Mwangi from the Office of the President – expressing surprise at the request.

“Due to company policy and international regulations we are not allowed to be directly involved or participate in any Law Enforcement operations.,” the May 7-email says”

Mr Shehata was replying to a letter the previous day from the Kenya government ‘Support Team’ on the project, presumably Mr Kinyanjui and Mr Mwangi, which asked for Mr Alai’s website to be brought down as proof that the Hacking Team’s system works.

The letter to addressed to Mr Shehata read in part: “There is a website we would wish you urgently bring down, either by defacement or by making it completely inaccessible.

The website url is http://www.kahawatungu.com. If you can bring this site down, it would serve as a great proof of concept for your capabilities and also provide a means of immediate engagement. Please let me know if this is possible, and how soon you can have it done.”

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