The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986

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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Kenya tops in phone internet traffic globally

mobileappsBUSINESS DAILY By JAMES NGUNJIRI

TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018 

Kenya is leading globally in share of internet traffic coming from mobile phones overtaking Nigeria, which was at the top in 2017.

At 83 per cent, Kenya is now at the top, with Nigeria coming in second at 81 per cent.

This has been attributed to the country’s high level of smartphones penetration rate which recently surpassed the 40 million mobile subscriptions in 2017 and stands at 41 million (+3 per cent), with reach at 90.4 per cent of the adult population.

Other leading countries include India (79 per cent), Singapore (78 per cent), Ghana (75 per cent), Indonesia (72 per cent), South Africa (71 per cent), Thailand (69 per cent), Saudi Arabia (64 per cent), Turkey (62 per cent), China (61 per cent), UAE (61 per cent), Poland (59 per cent), Malaysia (57 per cent), and the rest of the world at 52 per cent.

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Confusion as evangelists, sceptics and pragmatists debate blockchain technology

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday March 14, 2018

We have occasionally discussed blockchain technology in this column over the past two years, with the most recent discussion being published in January this year.

What is surprising is that the more we talk about blockchain and cryptocurrencies (cryptos), the more confusion it brings to the debate. I have identified three groups of people or positions that arise whenever this discussion crops up.

The first group is the evangelists. This group imagines that blockchain and cryptos are the solution to every problem in the world. They spread and force the gospel of blockchain and cryptos to everyone, including those not bothered to listen.

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Telkom to get Sh4bn for network upgrade

telkomDAILY NATION BY MUTHOKI MUMO

Monday March 05,2018

Telkom Kenya is set to receive a Sh4.1 billion ($40 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to boost infrastructure and mobile money network.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) said the loan, which is still going through appraisal, will only form part of the funding for Telkom Kenya’s Sh9.34 billion ($92 billion) network expansion project.

“The promoter [Telkom Kenya] will invest in its mobile network to improve its coverage and quality of services, especially for mobile services, and will launch an open eco-system mobile financial service product,” says EIB in a disclosure statement.

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CA proposes tariff reduction for M-Pesa across networks

CAKDAILY NATION By JACQUELINE KUBANIA

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 20 2018

Popular mobile money transfer platform M-Pesa may soon become cheaper for non-Safaricom users if new proposals by a consultant hired by the Communications Authority of Kenya are effected.

Analysys Mason, a UK consultant appointed two years ago to assess competition in the telecoms sector, also recommends that Safaricom stops on-net discounts and individually tailored loyalty schemes so as to reduce the barriers to entry for smaller players.

COMPETITION

The consultant has however shelved a contentious proposal to split Safaricom and M-Pesa in order to reduce Safaricom’s competitive advantage in the mobile money transfer market.

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We should proceed with caution on the cybercrimes bill

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Friday February 16th 2018

The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill of 2017 is before Parliament and undergoing public consultations. Whereas it does contain contentious clauses, we must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

This is because the Cybercrimes Bill is one of the four pending bills that are required to usher in a true digital economy for Kenya. The other three are the Data Protection Act, the Electronic Transactions Act and the Copyright Act.

As the country gets more and more digitised, new forms of threats and crimes emerge. These crimes present challenges to the authorities in terms of investigations, prosecution and judicial adjudication, since the old legal frameworks do not adequately apply.

A legal framework covering crimes against and using computer systems is therefore a welcome development and would go a long way in making Kenya a safer place.

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An unpredictable governance framework will have a chilling effect on the ICT sector

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday February, 07, 2018

Last week we had three little tsunamis sweeping the ICT sector. Three events, all centred on the communications regulator, are likely to have far-reaching ramifications going forward.

The first was that the embattled director-general of the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) obtained a court order rescinding a decision to send him home on compulsory leave pending some human resources-related investigations.

It is not the first time that the CEO of the CA has been sent home unceremoniously, but it was the first time that a court has ordered his reinstatement – and that court order was ignored.

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Involve consumers in ICT reforms

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By KING'ORI CHOTO

Thursday February 01, 2018

Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru recently announced plans to launch money transfer services across mobile networks.

This implies that consumers will in the near future enjoy seamless money transfer services across mobile platforms.

The move is long overdue, given the phenomenal growth of mobile money services in recent years. 

JOBS
Wallet-to-wallet interoperability, as it is known, can be simply explained as money transfers from provider to provider without having to first withdraw cash from one platform to send on another.

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Artificial Intelligence will be the next revolution. Are we ready for it?

serverDAILY NATION By LUIS FRANCESCHI

Wednesday January 30, 2018

Last week, Melinda Gates and Strive Masiyiwa spoke in Nairobi about their latest initiative, the Pathways for Prosperity Commission on Technology and Inclusive Development.

These top billionaires aim to bring together “diverse voices and perspectives to map the potential impacts of technology on jobs in developing countries and come up with practical proposals.”

On Friday, January 26, Masiyiwa toured the Strathmore campus. As our conversation got more and more engaging, we came to the Policy Innovation Centre, a high-tech arbitration room sponsored by Microsoft, where exciting arbitrations, policy discussions and law drafting is taking place.

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