The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986

Judge halts search for new CA boss

wanjauBUSINESS DAILY By JOSEPH WANGUI

Wednesday April 15, 2021

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will have to start afresh recruitment of a new director-general to replace Francis Wangusi after the Employment and Labour Relations Court quashed the advertisement for the vacancy.

This means Mercy Wanjau will continue to hold the position in an acting capacity.

Justice Maureen Onyango found that the advertisement for the vacancy did not meet the minimum statutory requirements in terms of the qualifications for the position and the process of advertising.

The judge said the authority published two advertisements for the vacancy, the first being on May 22, 2020, and the second on June 17, 2020.

The closure of the second advertisement was on June 23, 2020, with Justice Onyango saying this violated the hiring rules.

She said the second advertisement could not be deemed to be a continuation or extension of the first one. The judge said a person who only saw the re-advertisement and not the original one was entitled to the full 21 days before closure.

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State pushes Airtel to give locals 30pc stake

AirtelpxBUSINESS DAILY By ELIZABETH KIVUVA

Monday April 12, 2021

The State has introduced new ownership rules in the telecoms sector that will push Airtel Kenya to sell a 30 percent stake to Kenyans over the next three years in what is part of a move to encourage local ownership of ICT firms.

Joe Mucheru, the ICT Cabinet Secretary, unveiled a licensing policy on Friday that has given telecoms firms up to March 2024 to ensure local ownership of at least 30 percent in the companies.

He also increased the local ownership threshold from a minimum of 20 percent, a cap that has been in place since 2008.

A few firms, including Airtel Kenya, have been exempted from the shareholding rule, a window that let billionaire investor Naushad Merali to sell a significant portion of his shareholding in the firm worth billions of shillings without contravening the law.

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Fraudsters stash cash in global cryptocurrencies

bitpxBUSINESS DAILY BY FAUSTINE NGILA

Thursday April 08, 2021

The modern cyber fraudster has become more lethal during the Covid-19 pandemic, drifting from saving hidden money in off-shore banks to stashing them in cryptocurrency networks running on blockchain systems that cannot be accessed by authorities.

The study, The Anatomy of the New Fraudster, published by tech company Banking Payments Context (BPC) shows apart from targeting corruptible employees, scammers are now targeting untrained personnel to share private data of top executives unknowingly and end up purloining billions of money, which is hidden in cryptocurrency form.

"Card fraud and particularly identity theft have gone rampant. Fraudsters also use cryptocurrencies to buy credit card data on the darkweb, data that has been stolen through phishing or hacking," reveals the research.

According to Nairobi-based author of Understanding the Blockchain Benjamin Arunda, the ever rising stature of data and digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in Kenya is the key motivation for online thugs to convert stolen money into cryptos.

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Airtel connects 5G in battle with Safaricom

AirtelpxBUSINESS DAILY By PATRICK ALUSHULA

Wednesday April 07, 2021

Airtel Kenya has upgraded some of its sites with fifth-generation (5G) mobile Internet services as the telecoms operator prepares to battle Safaricom for a larger share of the fast-growing data business.

Airtel said the deployment of 5G-ready networks would help it capitalise on the rising mobile Internet demand in the country, just days after Safaricom  became the inaugural operator to offer the superfast services in the region.

The Kenyan unit of India’s Bharti Airtel says it has over 600 sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi on 5G network.

“These 600 sites are now 5G-ready. We don’t have to make any further modifications to the network. We will just get the spectrum and decide when to switch on,” Airtel Kenya managing director Prasanta Das Sarma told the Business Daily in an interview.

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Safaricom to launch 5G network Friday in Nairobi and western Kenya

safBUSINESS DAILY By OTIATO GUGUYU

Thursday March 25, 2021

Safaricom will Friday launch Kenya’s first fifth-generation (5G) mobile internet services targeting major urban centres, making it the inaugural operator to offer commercial and superfast services in the region.

The firm last year completed testing and trials for the upgraded network as the company seeks to capitalise on burgeoning mobile Internet use in the country.

The leading telco Thursday revealed the Friday launch of the 5G technology that will be supplied by Nokia Corporation and Huawei—which has been the subject of increased scrutiny in the Western world over the introduction of the high speed networks.

The 5G service is a central part of its attempts to further expand its data business to counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.

The service will be available in Nairobi and greater western Kenya including Kisumu, Kisii and Bungoma, which routinely witness increased data traffic.

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Beware email, data privacy danger

cyber-1BUSINESS DAILY By BITANGE NDEMO

Thursday March 18,2021

Any discussions on the impact of digital technologies cannot end without mentioning how e-mail, for example, has changed our communication landscape and our lives. The use of email has enabled us to conveniently talk to relatives, friends and colleagues no matter how far they live and enhanced productivity.

But as they say, nothing worth having comes easy. And this essential tool is not foolproof. Scammers have been able to hack it to swindle unsuspecting users; employers use it to monitor employees and spies too use it in their trade. Not all unauthorised intrusions are an infringement on your privacy. Nonetheless, this calls for us to protect our data privacy.

Studies by American Management Association (AMA) indicate that between 70 and 80 percent of major organisations globally monitor employees’ emails. And virtually all the court cases on infringement of privacy in monitoring workplace emails have been in favour of the organisations. These kinds of decisions are a wake-up call to all employees.

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Split in government over takeover of Sh16 billion fibre optic from Telkom Kenya

Fibre-opticBUSINESS DAILY BY EDWIN MUTAI

Monday March 01, 2021

A split has emerged in Government over plans to end Telkom Kenya’s management of State-owned Sh16 billion fibre optic network that the telco operates without licence.

The ICT Ministry and a State agency, the ICT Authority (ICTA) — are locked in a dispute over how to end Telkom Kenya management of National Optic Fibre Backbone (Nofbi) -- which provides telecommunications connectivity in all the 47 counties.

Jerome Ochieng, the ICT Principal Secretary told Parliament that the Ministry is not aware of plans to take control of the State-owned fibre network from Telkom Kenya which has collected Sh1.7 billion from users over the years.

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Konza lays 500km underground ICT cables

konzaBUSINESS DAILY BY OTIATO GUGUYU

Thursday February 18, 2021

They laying of 500km of ICT cabling in Konza city has been done, stepping up efforts to open up the technopolis for private companies seeking to set up in the Greenfield city.

The infrastructure is meant to attract investment by providing ready-to-plug backbone ICT network.

Konza has also completed phase 2 — Tier III National Data Centre — with smart city facilities and services to support Konza Technopolis, e-government as well as the small and medium enterprises services.

“We are expecting Kenya to cement its lead in IT leadership and this is a flagship project that will be integral for job creation for the youth,” Vision 2030 CEO Kenneth Mwige said.

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Cyber-attacks in Kenya up by half to hit 56m in three months

cybercrimeCyber attacks on Kenyan organisations rose by nearly 50 percent in the last three months of 2020 compared to a similar period the previous year, a new data shows.

This came at a time when organisations adopted remote working systems as well as ecommerce tools amid Covid-19 lockdown measures.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows that more than 56 million cyber threats were detected nationwide in comparison to 37.1 million in 2019.

“A majority of the threats were malware attacks at 46 million, followed by web application attacks at 7.8 million while 2.2 million Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) threats were detected during the same period,” the CA said in a statement.

The rise in cyber threats have seen businesses lose billions of shillings and sensitive information to hackers. This has forced firms, especially in the financial sector, to be vigilant.

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JamboPay joins big leagues with new communications service

DAILY NATION By Brian NgugiCAK

Tuesday February 02, 2021

Heading home from work late, and you’re not sure whether there is a packet of milk in the refrigerator? You may soon find it easy to communicate with your fridge, TV, water and electricity meters and other household gadgets, as the race to roll out internet of things (IoT) gathers pace in Kenya.   

JamboPay, which is better known for having launched Nairobi’s first mobile phone-based car parking payment service, has obtained a regulatory license to roll out mobile phone services in Kenya and also connect up to one million machines through the IoT technology.


JamboPay’s parent company, Web Tribe Limited, has been awarded a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) license by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), effectively allowing it to lease spectrum from mobile network operators and roll out communications services.

Pilot tests

The firm, which has created a niche for itself in the online payment services sector, says it is conducting pilot tests ahead of rolling out several commercial services in Nairobi later this year and subsequently to other parts of the country.

Its services will include smart communications networks that will enable Kenyans to monitor their water and electricity meters and pay for the bills as well as track their vehicles.

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Taxman goes for e-books, movies, online classes in new digital tax

KRADAILY NATION By Brian Ngugi

Monday, January 25, 2021

The next online class, e-book, music download, movie streaming or air ticket that you buy over the internet could cost you more, as KRA moves to implement the new tax on digital services.

The digital service tax (DST), which became effective on January 1 this year, is payable at 1.5 per cent of the gross transaction value and is due at the time of payment for the service to the service provider, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has stated.

The tax introduced in the Finance Act 2020 applies on a wide range of digital services including commercial mobile apps available on Google Play Store and Apple Store; podcasts and TV shows available on foreign registered platforms such as YouTube Premium, Google Play, Netflix, Spotify and YouTube Music.

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Kenya tops Africa by a mile in internet penetration

internetpic2DAILY NATION By Augustine Sang

Friday Jaunary 22, 2021

Kenya recorded the highest internet penetration rate in Africa in the year 2020. This is according to a ranking by Internet World Stats (IWS), showing that 87.2 percent of the country’s population was connected to the internet. 

Figures from the Communication Authority (CA) indicate that in quarter one of 2020/2021 financial year (July to Sept 2020), the country recorded 43.45 million internet/data subscriptions, an increase of 4.8 percent from the previous quarter. 

The regulator attributes this growth to the internet connectivity demand necessitated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which forced many Kenyans to work and undertake studies from home. 

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Online firms seek review of digital tax citing low user transition

KRABUSINESS DAILY By Elizabeth Kivuva

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 13 2021

Online shopping firms are lobbying for revision on the digital service tax, saying it will throttle the nascent e-commerce industry.

Firms including Sky Garden, Kilimall, Africa Sokoni, Jumia and Jambo shopping want the government to review the implemented tax and if not, give them a grace period before implementation.

The digital service tax), which came into effect at the start of this month, will be charged at a rate of 1.5 percent of the gross transaction value to both residents and non-residents firms and individuals who earn income from the online space.

In introducing the tax, the Treasury pointed to the steady increase in online consumer retail purchases on both local and international platforms.

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SRC taps IT to unearth civil servants secret perks

lynThe salaries agency is automating vetting of civil servants to capture overpayment of salaries and hidden allowances in the latest bid to curb fraud and weed out ghost workers.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is seeking a single automated system that will capture all public servants, their pay and perks to nab those earning above the rates set by the agency.

The commission, which sets public sector wages, relies on spot-checks and face-to-face interviews in a manual system that creates a loophole for overpayment, especially allowances.

The SRC is concerned that allowances are a major component of the compensation package in the public sector, yet they are not fully disclosed and have the effect of more than doubling workers’ pay.

The system will capture names of all government institutions, their categories such as county or State corporation and the number of employees who are permanent, contractual, casual, interns or on secondment.

Each entity will then feed its wage bill into the system and cite the Kenya Gazette notice on public workers pay issued by the SRC to justify the salaries and allowances being paid.

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Kenya joins South Africa and Zambia in digitising seed certification and plant variety protection

kephis-3-onlineDAILY NATION By a Reporter 

Thursday December 10, 2020

Kenya has officially launched the automated Seed Certification and Plant Variety Protection (SCPVP) System. With this, the country becomes the third in Africa, after South Africa and Zambia, to digitise its seed certification and plant variety protection processes.

The seed sub-sector contributes significantly to Kenya’s economic growth and development. Agriculture is a major employer and providing the farming community with certified seed for production is critical. In the last four years, the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) has certified more than 213,000 tonnes of seeds.

However, while the certification process is very well defined, both in practice and the law, the activities have largely been coordinated manually. This has brought about a number of challenges, including long and costly business processes, duplication of records and inefficient traceability and monitoring of certified seed.

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City commuters to use digital platform at new matatu terminuses

stageDAILY NATION By Collins Omulo

Tuesday December 01, 2020

Commuters in Nairobi will soon start using a digital platform for rides to and from terminuses which will be introduced by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) outside the central business district (CBD).

NMS will integrate an electronic system in the terminuses outside the city centre that will keep matatu users informed on the time last mile buses will be at the different pick up stages.

NMS Director of Transport and Public Works Michael Ochieng said the system will also keep matatu operators informed.

“This system keeps you informed and, when you have information, you make correct decisions on what time you are planning to do your business, what time to leave your office, when to you go home and so on. That is what we want to integrate,” said Mr Ochieng.

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Kenya becoming a playground for cyberspies

cybercrimeDAILY NATION BY MARY WAMBUI

Tuesday October 20 2020

The weekend arrest in Taita-Taveta of a computer science expert Kenyan police claim is a spy for a western nation rekindled an espionage ring smashed six years ago in Nairobi.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti on Sunday said Archibald Mwandawiro, 52, who was arrested in Milondo in Wundanyi, “sends espionage materials to a country in the West”.

Mr Kinoti did not name the country. He said investigations had established that the widely travelled suspect is a computer science expert from a local university.

 

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Digital portal to offer jobless youth one million vacancies

ICT1DAILY NATION By Brian Okinda

Monday, September 21, 2020

Youth in the country have been pressed to tap into the government’s employment portal for job opportunities.

ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the ministry will continue engaging educational institutions and local companies to help bridge the gap between skills demand and lack of jobs through the government’s Ajira Digital platform. 

This will result in at least one million Kenyan youths earning a decent wage from digital and digitally-enabled jobs annually. 

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Freshers scramble for laptops in Covid-19 era

laptopDAILY NATION By A REPORTER

Monday, September 14, 2020

Laptops are now a basic requirement for students joining universities and colleges in Kenya as institutions continue to rollout online classes amid the Covid 19 pandemic.

Nearly all universities, both private and public, have directed first year students to purchase the gadgets as one of the compulsory requirements for admission during the September-December semester virtual admission which is currently ongoing. 

Let us focus on developing ICTs at the county level

ictpicDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday August 12, 2020

Last week, the Kenya ICT Action Network, (KICTAnet) and the ICT authority, held a consultative meeting with the ICT directors from the counties to discuss the outcome of the soon to be released report on the state of ICTs in the counties.

The study carried out by the KICTAnet research team sought to find out the extent to which the counties are adopting and leveraging ICTs in order to deliver on their county development plans.

Motivated by the slogan – Kenya is not Nairobi – KICTAnet believes that a meaningful ICT transformation at a national scale can only be achieved through enhancing the performance of ICTs at the county levels.

Put differently, if all the counties improved or made proper use of their ICT investments in delivering on their county development goals, then we can confidently claim that Kenya – rather than Nairobi – is the hotbed of innovation.

The county development plans outline the vision, objectives and the priorities of each county and includes the implementation matrix of key projects and activities that would be undertaken during the period under review.

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