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Since 1986

What is the progress of ICT in the counties?

naksphotopixDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday November 11, 2018

When the international media says Kenya is a hotbed of innovation, many a time they are referring to Nairobi County.

Mention high-speed internet, innovation hubs, mobile apps for paying bills and for hailing taxi rides, apps for dating, or just about anything else, and you will get it in Nairobi.

Nairobi seems to have it all in terms of ICT.

However, is Nairobi the same as Kenya? What exactly is the state of ICT in the counties?

Difficult to tell, but reading from a 2015 County ICT study that was commissioned by the ICT Authority, the story was not so rosy. The study looked at the maturity levels of ICT governance and usage within the county governments.

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Telcos regulator seeks to monitor WhatsApp

CAKDAILY NATION By PATRICK ALUSHULA

Friday November 2, 2018

Kenya is considering regulating online services such as WhatsApp and Skype in a radical move that could force the internet-based service providers to share data with the government.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is in search of a consultant to study and determine how the so-called over-the-top services (OTTS) operated by groups such as Facebook, which runs WhatsApp, and Skype owner Microsoft, could be regulated.

The regulator wants to have some measure of control, much like it does with other traditional telecom products such as calls and phone text messages.

“Given that providers of OTTS are likely to gather their subscribers’ data and may not be domiciled in Kenya,” the CA said in a statement to the Business Daily.

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Mucheru, Rotich drawn into GAA enquiry

mucherupxDAILY NATION By DAVID MWERE

Monday October 29, 2018

Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and his National Treasury counterpart, Mr Henry Rotich, are among the senior government officers to be probed by a parliamentary committee over the loss of Sh2.5 billion at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).
Their Principal Secretaries Fatuma Mohamed (Broadcasting and Telecommunications) and Kamau Thugge (Treasury) will also be probed.

DIRECTIVE
This comes as Lugari MP Ayub Savula, former Broadcasting and Telecommunications PS Sammy Itemere, and former GAA boss Dennis Chebitwey are expected to be charged today with the theft of Sh122.3 million on the recommendation of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Noordin Haji.

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Auditor: ICT authority is technically insolvent

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By IBRAHIM ORUKO

Monday October 22, 2018 

The Information Communication and Technology Authority is technically insolvent and cannot meet its financial obligations, Auditor-General Edward Ouko says.

The authority recorded a Sh2.41 billion loss in the 2016/17 financial year.

The auditor, in a report tabled in the National Assembly last week, said the agency's liabilities of Sh1.6 billion exceed its Sh386 million assets.

DOCUMENTS

“Its financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis. The assumption is that the authority will continue to receive financial support from the government, bankers, creditors and donors,” the report said.

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Tax on internet, mobile cash will dim ‘Silicon Savannah’ dream

mobilephoneDAILY NATION By LINAH BENYAWA
Tuesday October 16, 2018

The most endearing question on the growth of a state should be, do we tax ourselves to growth or poverty, economic extinction and obscurity? While tax is a grand necessity, the growth of nations is pegged on taxation systems that allow for equitable redistribution and tandem growth in the middle and lower classes — the low-income group.

A good example, and which has generated much controversy and qualified opinion in equal measure, is Kenya. The recent concession by the Executive and the measures introduced in the tax reforms — taxing fuel and introducing a vague organ on kerosene and highly taxing mobile money and data is such.

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Telcos switch off thousands of fraudulent SIM cards

wangusiCITDAILY NATION By JOHN MUTUA

Monday September 24, 2018

Telcos have switched off hundreds of thousands of fraudulently registered SIM cards following a directive by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

The CA had issued the directive last Monday after a forensic audit of the mobile networks belonging to Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya revealed several subscribers had registered their lines with inaccurate and incomplete data, thus aiding criminal activity.

Some of the anomalies spotted include SIM cards with multiple registrations under different identity details, serial number length variations in registrations, using passports and alien IDs as well as lack of control by telecommunications operators on their agents.

“We wish to confirm that all customers on our network are registered,” Safaricom said in a letter to CA, dated September 17. Safaricom had 29.5 million subscribers by end of March according to CA data.

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Is Communications Authority running out of options?

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday September 12, 2018

Declare dominance, but do not punish success.

This has been Safaricom’s rallying call each time the Communications Authority attempts to intervene in the Kenyan telco sector that has been dominated by Safaricom in the better part of the last decade

Safaricom, with its flagship product M-Pesa, has without doubt transformed lives and put Kenya on the global map where financial and digital inclusion is concerned.

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Data Protection bill is finally out – The key principles

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday August 08, 2018

The Ministry of ICT finally published the proposed Privacy and Data Protection Bill and is seeking public comments on the same. We seek to provide an overview of the general principles behind this bill. First we must recognise three key actors within the Data Protection regime: the data controllers, processors and subjects.

Data controllers determine the purpose for and the manner in which the data collected on citizens is processed. Typical examples of data controllers include government departments like immigration, police and agencies like Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), universities and hospitals among others.

Private sector data controllers would include your mobile service providers, banks, hospitals, supermarkets and insurers.

We should not forget the smaller data controllers like your neighbourhood garbage collecting company or security agency that possess private information about you.

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How to secure government records

techDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Monday August 20, 2018

Business Daily made a sensitive revelation about the controversial construction that is allegedly encroaching on a public beach in Mombasa.

They discovered from the Nema website that the construction had been approved by the regulatory agency, Nema under the application number NEMA/EIA/PSR/6347. A few days later, Business Daily reported that the record had been removed from the website.

Such a move does raise quite some pertinent questions.

First and foremost is the issue of public trust. If a government agency can randomly choose what to hide or share with the public then we indeed have a long way to go in terms of transparency practices.

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Treasury to blame for Sh2.5bn media debt, says Joe Mucheru

joemucherupxDAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has told media houses that he would not pay their Sh2.5 billion debt because Treasury has not given him the money.

The money owed through the Government Advertising Agency (GAA), has left the viability of some media houses and the livelihoods of thousands of journalists, who work under difficult circumstances to keep the country informed and the powerful in check, hanging precariously.

During a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with some media executives, the ICT Cabinet Secretary said GAA would not pay the money until it receives an allocation from Treasury.

He also said the debt was now under investigation, suggesting he could not progress with payments until detectives complete their work.

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State mulls taking all advertisements online

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Wednesday August 8,2018

The Government Advertising Agency (GAA) plans to cut out the media and place all state advertising on a website.

The agency sees this a way of reining in government entities which book adverts but do not pay and possibly as a way of getting around the mass of debt it has accumulated.

GAA head Ngari Gituku told Nation that MyGov, the weekly pamphlet of government adverts and propaganda that is inserted in daily newspapers on a rotational basis, will soon become a website. This would be in a bid to help the government stop reliance on media houses for delivery of the messages.

While digital is the way of the future, less than a third of the population have access to the Internet and smartphones that would allow them access government opportunities.

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Mobile cash payments up by Sh108bn in six months

mpesaBUSINESS DAILY By CONSTANT MUNDA 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018

The value of mobile-based transactions rose by Sh108.86 billion in the first six months of the year, reflecting the growing dominance of mobile payment services, Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) data published on Wednesday shows.

Mobile payments hit Sh1.92 trillion between January and June from Sh1.81 trillion in a similar period last year, putting average daily transactions at Sh10.61 billion.

Key sectors of the economy such as financial services, retail and wholesale trade, agriculture and health are increasingly integrating mobile payments into their operations.

This is in line with rising mobile subscriptions, which stood at 44.1 million or 95.1 per cent penetration in March, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya July data.

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As cybercrime rises, a wake-up call about security and the digitisation pace

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday July 24,2018

Recent reports showing how tech-savvy youth are compromising our digital services to fleece unsuspecting customers confirms that our digitisation efforts are moving faster than our information security efforts.

Banks, telcos, utility companies such as Nairobi Water or Kenya Power have been in the forefront of making their services convenient and more accessible for their customers.

Banks and telcos are heavily regulated and some of the rules require regular security audits of their information systems. So how come cybercrooks are having a field day, reaping where they have not sown?

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Fraudsters device new ways to swap SIM cards

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By ERIC WAINAINA

Wednesday July 18,2018

While on an official trip to Israel last month, Mr Stanley Wanjiku needed to do some urgent business back in Kenya through his mobile money transfer service, only to find his PIN blocked.

In seconds, a message popped up asking him to call his bank's service centre through a certain number. He tried several times to have his PIN reset through a WhatsApp call to no avail. Getting anxious, he sought assistance through an SMS.

“I wrote them (bank’s call centre) an SMS via the same number (the number given to him) giving my (bank) account number and my phone number only,” Mr Wanjiku, the MCA for Ikinu in Kiambu County, told the Nation.

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Why criticism of fintechs’ role in war on poverty is totally misplaced

moneyBUSINESS DAILY By GEORGE NYABUGA

Tuesday July 17, 2018

Don’t hold your breath, Fintech isn’t the answer to world poverty’’ was the title of an article that Prof Milford Bateman wrote in the Business Daily of July 9, 2018.

Unfortunately, the article had a lot of uninformed and rather fallacious arguments and conclusions that cannot go unchallenged.

First, it suggests that financial technology (fintech), and particularly M-Pesa-facilitated microcredit has driven millions into indebtedness and poverty.

Prof Bateman seems to suggest that fintechs are deleterious to Kenyans and the country given their apparent “…huge downsides that are only becoming apparent in Kenya now that it has become fully embedded within the community”.

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US tech giant Cisco to open innovation hub in Nairobi

ciscoBUSINESS DAILY By ANNIE NJANJA

Friday July 13, 2018

US-based tech giant Cisco Systems is set to open an innovation hub in Nairobi in September seeking to tap tech enthusiasts.

Cisco is investing Sh50 million ($500,000) in setting up the lab with a capacity of about 50 developers per cohort.

It plans to host different groups every year, with the length of incubation based on need basis. Those qualifying for the programme will have to be first assessed to ensure viability of their digital innovations.

The innovation hub is one of three that the firm is launching in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Why Uganda’s social media tax is misplaced

socialmediaDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday July 3, 2018

Effective July 1, 2018, Ugandans will be required to pay a so-called social media tax in order to access sites like WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram.

I was hoping to find a fairly solid rationale for this tax but was disappointed to discover that the taxman’s objective is simply to reduce online gossip or lugambo, as President Yoweri Museveni explained in the native language.

Whereas this is ridiculous to say the least, Kenyans must be very wary of what is happening across the border since politicians are known to cut and paste experiences – whether positive or negative.

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Google to sign Internet deals with Kenya telcos

balloon1BUSINESS DAILY By IVY NYAYIEKA

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2018 

Technology giant Google is looking to sign deals with Kenyan telecommunications operators that will deliver mobile internet coverage to remote locations through a network of floating balloons that could also significantly cut costs.

Google, through its Project Loon, has embarked on a global campaign to increase internet connectivity among the millions of people living in rural areas without ground stations and fibre connections.

Kenya’s Ministry of ICT welcomed the move arguing that an aerial network would bring down costs and deepen internet use across all segments of the population.

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Treasury has noble intentions on ICT spending, but execution could be a nightmare

ICTDAILY NATION  By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday June 21, 2018

Looking at the key budget lines for the ICT ministry reveals that ICT as a driver or an enabler of government services still has some long way to go before achieving its optimal impact.

Whereas the usual suspects – Digital Literacy Program (Laptop Project) and Konza Technocity – got their huge amounts of Sh11.9 billion and Sh8.3 billion, respectively, very little in the ICT budget speaks to the softer agenda of ICT as an enabler.

The ICT ministry budget has over the years been heavy on procuring hardware and software resources, but this has never quite translated into the desired outcome – in terms of acting as the core engine for delivering government services.

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Right to information from the State key in the war on graft

joeSATURDAY NATION By DEMAS KIPRONO

Saturday June 16, 2018

The Executive Order by President Uhuru Kenyatta on procurement in public institutions, and is in line with Article 35 of the Constitution, confers every citizen the right to access information held by the State, and, compels the State to publish and publicise any important information affecting the nation. The order makes it possible for citizens to access information on tenders, who was awarded the tenders, identity of the directors of companies awarded tenders, contract details and what was supplied among other things.

The Access to Information Act was passed in 2016 after over 15 years of advocacy led by the civil society. However, one big challenge is that, to date, the Ministry of ICT is yet to come up with regulations on issues such as fees chargeable to the public for obtaining information in whatever form, such as digital copies or photocopies. As it stands, neither the government nor private organisations are bound by any law when determining what to charge citizens for information sought.

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