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Since 1986

Technology can help stem corruption in government

ifmisDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

TUESDAY MARCH 19 2019

It was interesting to note on social media that the 'war on corruption' that has recently hijacked headlines is actually not new.

The first President, Jomo Kenyatta, started it, his successor, President Moi, claimed to fight it and so did President Kibaki.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken up the same mantra of 'war on corruption', but Kenyans must be forgiven for being sceptical, given the evidence of spectacular failure from previous presidents on the corruption front.

Can technology help in the fight against corruption?

President Kibaki’s regime introduced rapid automation in government and the Jubilee government promised even more automation in the public sector.

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Legal fight for e-Citizen portal billions deepens

kasango

DAILY NATION By GALGALLO FAYO

Tuesday March 12, 2019

The High Court has rejected the plea by Webmasters Kenya to be excluded from a lawsuit involving the fight for control of revenue from e-Citizen users.

Justice Mary Kasango observed that Webmasters Kenya owns and administers the integrated government service platform known as e-citizen, on which another firm Goldrock Capital had moved to court claiming service fees.

Goldrock Capital Limited, which runs e-Citizen’s mobile money payment account, sued the Treasury in 2017 for denying it access to the platform’s M-Pesa paybill number and enjoined Webmasters Kenya and Webmasters Africa as parties.

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Is the laptop project dead?

LAPTOPS

DAILY NATION BY JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday March 05, 2019 

Is the laptop project dead? The answer depends on whom you ask.

For the Ministry of Education, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang reported to the Parliamentary committee that the project is not dead – it has simply evolved, as per the original plan, from One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to one Computer Lab per school.

But critics believe the Laptop project was ill conceived, poorly implemented and was bound to grind to a halt sooner, rather than later.

This view is widely shared by those who remember that the Laptop Project was envisioned during the heat of the 2013 campaign period; when politicians were competing for Wanjiku’s attention in terms of who could offer more goodies.

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Cyber security – are we automating faster than we are protecting?

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday February 19, 2019

Recently, the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) posted a list of one hundred and thirty most wanted cyber criminals in Kenya. Their key target being the financial sector, where insider sources confirm that fraudulent activity compromising digital platforms are at an all-time high.

Banks, insurers, SACCOs, State agencies, NGOs and anyone who has automated their processes has not been spared the rising scourge of being electronically raided and funds compromised.

It is no wonder the previously-common broad daylight robbery incidents against banks are long gone - having been adequately replaced by the white collar, highly-educated and skilled ''key-board'' robbers. Could this be a reflection of automating processes faster than we are developing capacity to protect them?

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Crypto-exchange CEO dies with password – time for tighter regulation?

moneyDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday February 12,2019

Recently, the CEO of a crypto exchange in Canada died, and with him went the crucial password that he had used to secure crypto assets of his customers on an offline storage device.

This event has brought to the fore the question of regulation with respect to these new forms of digital assets.

In traditional financial markets, customer funds are always protected through regulatory frameworks enforced by the Central Bank such that whenever banks collapse, for whatever reasons, the customer’s funds are recoverable.

Of course in the crypto-currency world as demonstrated by the bitcoin crypto, this regulatory or governance role is decentralised and distributed amongst peering nodes owned by anyone who is willing to download, install and run the bitcoin protocol.

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DCI publishes list of 130 suspected bank hackers

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By PETER MBURU

Wednesday January 01, 2019

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday published names and images of 130 suspects wanted in connection with electronic fraud by allegedly hacking bank systems. 

In a seven-page pullout published in local dailies on Wednesday, January 30, the DCI attached photographs of the suspects alongside their names and Identity card numbers, calling on the public to report their whereabouts to police.

The DCI also provided a list of phone numbers for members of the public to call or send message to if they spot the suspects. 

Police said they obtained court orders from Milimani and Kiambu Chief Magistrates’ courts to hunt down the suspects.

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Terrorism has gone digital, so must Kenya's war on terror

NTSADAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday January 22, 2019

Last week’s terrorist attack on the Dusit2 Hotel in Westlands and its quick containment by our security forces is commendable.

The subsequent arrests of suspects could not have happened swiftly if our security agencies were not up to speed with basic use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for investigative purposes.

Nairobi, like all other cities, is heavily digitised with cameras in public and private places.

Unless one travels in a hood or mask, it is very easy to work backwards from CCTV screen grabs of suspects at the scene of crime and trace back their movements over the last three to six months.

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Cyberattacks threaten elections and security, Kenyans say

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By VALENTINE OBARA

Monday January 14,2019

A majority of Kenyans are worried that cyberattacks will increase elections tampering and national security threats in future, according to a new survey.

A study carried out by American-based Pew Research Centre showed 73 percent of Kenyans believe that sensitive national security information will be leaked from cyberattacks, while 72 percent said such attacks are a recipe for election interference.

The research which was carried out in 26 countries globally, whose report was released over the weekend, also surveyed possibilities of cyberattacks on crucial public infrastructure such as power grids and telecommunication services.

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Police to take compulsory ICT course to serve public better

APsDAILY NATION By CHARLES LWANGA 

Tuesday January 08,2019

All police officers have been ordered to undergo a compulsory six-month training on Information and Communication Technology.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the training is aimed at equipping the officers with basic knowledge and skills to handle the newly launched automated information management system rolled-out across the country.

Speaking during the official launch of National Police Service Information Management System (IMS) at Karisa Maitha grounds in Kilifi County, Dr Matiang'i said the training will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of ICT in order to improve service delivery.

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Telco authority warns over harmful software

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By IVY NYAYIEKA

Wednesday January 02, 2019

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has raised the alarm over a harmful software that has accessed the confidential information of some Kenyans using online banking and payment systems.

The malware dubbed Emotet has been active globally and has now affected 11 Kenyan institutions in the private sector and academia, which, however, remain unspecified.

Individuals and institutions are vulnerable to Emotet because it poses behind familiar alerts, which seem to have legitimate branding from targeted financial institutions. It is spread through malicious email attachments or links posing as invoices, payment notifications and bank account alerts, among others.

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City data centre yet to start operations a year after launch

data-picDAILY NATION By COLLINS OMULO

Friday December 21, 2018

The Sh1.3 billion City Hall data centre launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2017 needs another Sh1.53 billion to finally start operating.

The money is needed for the purchase of visualisation software for supporting key functions.

This comes after it was revealed that the World Bank-funded data centre has not been operational, a year since it was launched as a digital platform to help the county government enhance its revenue collection.

This is because key components meant to support main functions are yet to be installed.

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Why Kenya's Konza technocity failed to take off

KonzapxDAILY NATION By ELVIS ONDIEKI

Wednesday December 11, 2018

It was touted as Kenya’s dream technocity that would create 200,000 jobs and make the country a model for other African countries in technological innovation.

Konza Technology City, launched by former president Mwai Kibaki in January 2013, was then a pet government project.

NO BUILDING

Mr Kibaki said at the launch that all had been put in place to ensure the construction of the city, located in Makueni County, was a success.

“I am telling the doubting Thomases to open their eyes wide and see what we are going to come up with,” said Mr Kibaki.

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M-Pesa is a critical resource that should never fail

M-PesapxDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Monday December 10, 2018

I have written extensively about the implications of the dominance of Safaricom over the Kenyan economy and its implication as a potential single point of failure.

To be fair, the M-Pesa service has only failed twice or thrice in its 10-year history and that should be commendable as a very good performance level of availability.

However, within those 10 years, M-Pesa has grown from an option to literally being a must-have financial service for millions of Kenyans. It has also become integrated in the lifestyles of Kenyans in terms of paying for anything, ranging from groceries to school fees and even bribes.

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Should CBK issue its own digital currency?

moneyDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday November 27, 2018

Should the Central Bank of Kenya issue its own digital or cryptocurrency?

This is not a popular question to ask, particularly at a time like now when the most famous cryptocurrency has shed off 90 percent of its value over the last one month.

Additionally, the question of a sovereign country issuing its own cryptocurrency begs another question – what is the problem with the current physical fiat currency that would necessitate a digital version?

A final begging question would be – aren’t we creating an oxymoron by putting Central Bank and digital or crypto currency in the same sentence, especially because cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were designed from scratch to eliminate the need for intermediaries like Central Banks?

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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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