The Star (Nairobi)

29 December 2012

Kenya: Secure Networks to Be Kenya's Key ICT Focus in 2013

As the information and communications technology scene change rapidly, safety has become a key concern. Cases of cyber attacks, information stealing ,cyber terrorism and general misuse of online platforms have become a reality to many Kenyans.

Communications Commission of Kenya director general Francis Wangusi says securing the networks is top of the agenda for the regulator and other stakeholders this coming year.

"Creating secure networks will be one of our main focus next year, this will help us as a country to grow e-commerce,"Wangusi said on the phone.

Besides e-commerce, there have also been global incidences of terrorism activities being perpetuated thorough cyber space.

By June 2012, internet users in Kenya had hit over 14 million, while more than 20 million Kenyans rely on electronic and mobile payment systems for their finances.

The regulator has been building on the security foundation like formation of the Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Center (KE-CIRT/CC), together with security bodies where users can report any cyber threats.

"The sector is evolving very fast, we want to correct the vices that have been bugging users," 2012 has seen the ICT sector in such radical moves.

For instance,this year witnessed the blocking of more than 1.89 million counterfeit mobile handsets. This meant the phones with duplicated International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers could no longer receive or make calls, send messages, or access mobile money services. This was in efforts to curb the illegal trade menace.

The Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 was also amended thus requiring registration of all telecommunication services subscribers.

This is was to curb the rising incidences of mobile phone perpetrated crimes, including kidnappings, fraud and hate messages. The process is still underway with the deadline set for Monday, the regulator says the deadline will not be extended.

The year was not without its controversies as the Mobile Termination Rates debate peaked. the rate which the callers operator pay the receiving one for connecting the call, had last been reduced in August 2010 but been put on hold again to the anguish of some firms, Essar and Airtel.

In November, CCK finally reviewed the MTR from Sh2.21 top Sh1.44. but to the surprise of many consumer, the operators announced they would not be passing on the benefit through rate cuts, and would instead re-invest the savings n their networks.

The planned move to digital migration also ran in to trouble . The ministry of Information and Communication got temporary court order stopping it from switching off of analogue Tv in Nairobi at the end of this month after Consumer Federation of Kenya filed a case. This case will be heard on january11.

Though as another year ends, it is clear that consumers are not yet ready with only a few having purchased Set top Boxes that are required to convert digital signals.

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