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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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Implications of EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation

DNDigitalMigration2712vDAILY NATION By BITANGE NDEMO

Wednesday June 6, 2018

When the European Union sought to protect consumers, they intensified the use of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification.

In the early 1990s, Africa, which exported horticultural products to the EU, was forced to adopt the certification.

Once again, the EU wants to protect her citizens from abuse of data that is passively collected from consumers by digital solutions providers.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last week on May 25. The objectives of the regulation are to

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Why ICTs are key to achieving Uhuru’s Big Four agenda

icttrainingDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday May 30, 2018

The President’s legacy is hinged around the Big Four – agriculture, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing. From a layman’s perspective, these items have nothing or very little to do with ICTs.

But if we are to look at Kenya as a business enterprise, with the President as the CEO and the Big Four as his key departments, the question he would be asking is: How can ICTs be used to ensure that the departments deliver on their mandate in the most efficient and cost-effective way?

The answer would have to come from his chief information officer – the Cabinet secretary in charge of ICTs. However, the answers are not a problem since they are already known; implementation is always the problem when it comes to ICTs.

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The benefits of the Computer and Cybercrime Act that no one is debating

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday May 23, 2018

Last week, the Computer and Cybercrime Bill was finally signed into law by the President and it immediately raised hell – as expected. The bill went through several changes, most of which were positive, but retained some contentious sections under the title “False Publications”.

Section 22(1), states as follows:

A person who intentionally publishes false, misleading or fictitious data or misinforms with intent that the data shall be considered or acted upon as authentic, with or without any financial gain, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.

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President Kenyatta assents to Cybercrimes bill amid protests

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By JOEL MUINDE

Wednesday May 16, 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented to the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, 2017.

The new law imposes hefty fines and long prison terms for cyber bullies and fake news dealers.

It also targets journalists, media houses, social media users, bloggers and other internet users.

The assent comes amid calls for the president to revert the law back to Parliament to ensure its provisions are constitutional and do not violate the right to media freedom and expression.

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged President Kenyatta not to assent to the bill, saying it stifles press freedom.

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CA’s bid to sue Royal Media over frequency breach turned down

CAKBUSINESS DAILY BY A REPORTER

Wednesday May 09, 2018 

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has lost its bid to have the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) compelled to prosecute a media house for alleged use of unauthorised frequencies five years ago.

The CA was challenging the decision by the DPP in 2013, not to prosecute Royal Media Services Ltd (RMS) for use of the alleged unauthorised frequencies to broadcast in parts of the country.

Court of Appeal judges William Ouko, David Musinga, and Gatembu Kairu, have upheld a High Court decision on the matter which had said the DPP had acted within his powers.

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Microsoft opens software testing centre in Kenya

microsoftDAILY NATION By DOREEN WAINAINAH

WEDNESDAY MAY 2 2018

Microsoft has launched its first software testing centre in Africa through a partnership with IT firm Techno Brain in Kenya.

The multinational is outsourcing its testing and quality assurance to Techno Brain Kenya for its flagship Windows operating system.

The centre will provide 1,000 jobs to Kenyan youth while growing the tech skills in the country.

“This has been as a result of two years of work between us and the Microsoft team,” said Manoj Shanker, CEO Techno Brain Group.

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How to conceal your online footprint

WAMPICSUNDAY NATION By SAM WAMBUGU

Sunday April 29, 2018

Thanks to technology, our lives have become intertwined than any other time in history.

We interact with each other online via social media, email, and forums.

We do business online as data-driven channels follow us picking subtle details of our online activity.

The online activities are fundamentally linked to what we come across in real life.

As the world’s most popular search engine, Google has created an enormously popular service — search — with many peripheral platforms such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and a host of others used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

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Mobile commerce deals in Kenya pass Sh1 trillion mark

mpesaDAILY NATION By DOREEN WAINAINAH

Friday April 13, 2018

The value of mobile commerce transactions, including those designated as Pay Bill and Buy Goods and Services, has passed the Sh1 trillion mark for the first time.

Data for the second quarter of 2017/18 from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), shows transactions grew to Sh1.17 trillion up from Sh714 billion in the previous quarter - an increase of 64 per cent within three months.

This is despite reduction in the number of mobile commerce transactions to 308 million compared to the previous quarter’s 352 million.

The number of transactions on Safaricom’s M-Pesa (Lipa na M-Pesa module), for example, fell despite the value of the transactions nearly doubling.

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Can we regulate telecoms market without price controls?

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Kwame Owino’s critique of the Communication Authority (CA) of Kenya’s approach to regulating the industry provokes some thinking. He argues that CA is obsessed with price controls as if it is the only tool for regulating the industry.

Specifically, he criticises the recent consultant’s report on the market analysis as laying the foundation for CA to engage in “unimaginative instruments of price controls and forced infrastructure sharing”.

Whereas this seems to be true, it begs the question: Can the telecoms market be regulated without invoking the traditional price controls?

If the answer is yes, then what are these alternative mechanisms for regulating the communications industry? This is actually an open and ongoing research area.

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