The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986

A case for right laws for tech in Africa


Thursday May 19 2022

Emerging technologies are transforming every aspect of our lives and as a result, influencing our laws. The speed at which these technologies are shaping our lives is not matched with the pace of policy and regulatory change.

Yet, we must enable innovations to take place, allow fair markets to flourish and protect consumers from intrusive technology providers and those that seek to harm citizens.

A research on laws and emerging technologies by Esther Salmerón-Manzano highlights how new technologies will have a huge impact on society in the coming years and bring new legal challenges worldwide.

Experience shows that technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are already having a significant impact on our economic, social, and political lives. Covid-19 fast tracked most of these technologies.

In spite of the impact, many developing economies’ policy, regulatory frameworks and laws on technology still lag developed nations.


State seeks to control Safaricom call charges


Tuesday May 17 2022

The rates that Safaricom charges rivals for terminating calls on its network are to be controlled by the government in a bid to protect the small telecommunications firms.

Under new regulations that seek to bar dominant telcos from making profits from mobile termination rates (MTRs), Safaricom will charge fees to cover only the costs of interconnecting calls from its competitors.

The Kenya Information and Communication (Interconnection) Regulations 2022 set the stage for the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to control Safaricom’s rates of interconnecting calls from its rivals given that the telco controls more than 25 percent of mobile services revenues.

MTRs are the charges levied by a mobile service provider on other telecommunications service providers for terminating calls on its network.


Digital signatures will boost growth of online trading


The government’s vision is to empower Kenyans in a digitally enabled society as per the country’s Digital Economy Blueprint 2019.

It states that we envision a nation where every citizen, enterprise and organisation has digital access as well as can participate and thrive in the digital economy.

This is the dream of every Kenyan citizen. With the rising cost of living, a digitally-enabled economy will not only ease the burden of travelling to get these services but also have the added advantage of eliminating bureaucracy that comes with transparency risks.

In the past 10 years, we have experienced significant improvement in service delivery through digitisation initiatives.

Gone are the days when you would have to physically visit the Kenya Revenue Authority to drop off your tax returns and visit National Health Insurance Fund to deliver your monthly payment. We now have more than 30 services that are available online.


Digital masterplan: Go beyond the talk


In an article by World Economic Forum (WEF) on how digital transformation is driving economic change, they highlight how we live in a time of exciting technological innovations. And that digital technologies are driving transformative change.

According to WEF, economic paradigms shift, and innovative technologies are reshaping the products and factor markets. The changes are profoundly altering the business and work environment.

But a country without a digital masterplan cannot exploit emerging technology-assisted economic opportunities easily. Kenya took a leap of faith with her master plan launched at the Connected Kenya Summit 2022.

The launch at Leisure Lodge in Diani was like a high school reunion, with so many technology enthusiasts attending despite the Sh60,000 registration fee, thanks to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.


How Kemsa’s IT focus will cure procurement ills


Wednesday April 06 2022

Information Technology (IT) solutions provide limitless opportunities to facilitate much-needed efficiency at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) as part of organisational reforms.

Kemsa is mandated to ensure supply chain excellence for Health Products and Technologies (HPTs) to ensure positive health outcomes.

The Authority, like never before, is banking on technology and a fit-for-purpose human resource base to meet its mandate.

IT investments at the Authority are also geared at plugging procurement loopholes, enhancing integrity, transparency and accountability at Kemsa.

As part of the Kemsa reform plan, we have ramped up strategies to offer automated web-based enterprise and customer-facing services.


Smartphone hitch hits CBK’s digital shilling plan


Wednesday March 23 2022

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has warned that lack of access to smartphones by more than half of mobile users in the country will hamper the rollout of its proposed digital currency that requires access to the Internet.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said in an interview that the smartphone hitch might force the bank to delay the rollout of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) -- a virtual version of the shilling which will exchange on a one-to-one basis with physical cash.

Official data show that 33 million or 56 percent of the 59 million cellphone devices are feature phones, making it difficult for half of subscribers to transact using CBDC.


in partnership with Google made a sales offer of one million affordable digital sets, with customers paying as little as Sh20 a day over nine months, aiming to switch about four million 2G and 3G phones to 4G.


Boost for data privacy as new rules take effect

kassaitBUSINESS DAILY By Edna Mwenda

Monday March 21, 2022

Companies who breach privacy laws are now set to feel the full weight of the new data act after it received parliamentary nod last week.

In compliance with the law, all data controllers and data processors will now be required to register with the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

A company found in breach of the new data regulations face fines of up to one percent of their annual turnover after the parliamentary committee on delegated legislation passed the data laws.

The approved set of regulations includes the data protection (General) regulations 2021, the Data Protection (Complaints Handling and Enforcement Procedures) Regulations, 2021, and the Data Protection (Registration of Data Controllers and Data Processors) Regulations, 2021.


Telcos get reprieve from fraudulent foreign calls


Wednesday February 23 2022

A tribunal has upheld the ban on secret international calls disguised as local conversations, sealing a loophole that was used by niche telecommunications service providers to avoid paying higher tariffs.

The Communications And Multimedia Appeals Tribunal ruled that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) was right in its 2018 decision to ban the practice technically known as SIM boxing.


reported the matter to the regulator in November 2016, accusing Geonet Communications Limited of illegally terminating international voice traffic on its network disguised as local calls to take advantage of domestic mobile termination rates, which are cheaper.

The CA, among other findings, declared that Geonet was guilty of SIM boxing which it said flouted the law.

Elige Communications, another player specialising in international calls, subsequently filed an appeal at the tribunal to challenge the regulator’s decisions.


The pros and cons of digital currency


Monday February 21 2022

The global outbreak of Covid-19 ushered in a lot of digital transformations in many sectors. Central banks have been in discussions since then, on the feasibility of introducing central bank based digital currencies.

The main motivation for the proposed introduction is to take advantage of technological advancements that support the implementation of digital currency.

A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is a new type of money issued by a central bank — such as the Central Bank Of Kenya — and that is intended to serve as legal tender. In as much as CBDCs will probably use the same technology as cryptocurrencies, they differ in terms of legal banking.

A CBDC will be regulated and will be based on the value of the Kenya shilling. A cryptocurrency is however largely unregulated and its value is not tied to any asset. Its value largely depends on speculation by investors. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies are not centralised, unlike the CBDC which is centralised.


Mind about cyber threats to your business


Tuesday February 15 2022

What would you imagine your username and password are worth to a hacker? According to Microsoft’s latest threat and data research, the average price for 1,000 stolen username password pairs is around $0.97. What’s more, securing 400 million username and password combinations in bulk will earn a cybercriminal around $150.

There can be little doubt, cybercriminals have our passwords in their sights. This is particularly the case in Africa where businesses are often more prone to cyberattacks than companies anywhere else in the world.

According to one report, Kenya ranked second in Africa, experiencing 28.3 million cyberattacks. South Africa ranked first with 32 million attacks.

With weak passwords, password spraying and phishing, the entry point for most attacks, identity is the new battleground of cyberthreats. And for organisations looking to protect themselves, preventing an identity from being misused or stolen, is now the highest priority.


Why data-driven solutions are critical for banks’ survival


Thursday February 10 2022

The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the provision of financial services matters now more than ever, and banks of the future will have to keep improving their systems if they are to adapt to the emerging dynamics of customer preferences in the future.

This, according to fintech experts who spoke during the inaugural Leap 2022 global tech summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, could make the difference in profitability in the global banking sector.

“The combination of intelligent propositions and personalised experiences will set an AI bank apart from traditional incumbents,” said Rana Gujral, chief executive officer of Behavioral Signals, an enterprise software company that unravels behavioural signals from speech data.

Noting that banks across the world are struggling to connect with their customers in the current era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Mr Gujral stressed the need for personalising banking experience using AI.


Safaricom case to block CA mobile tariff slash starts


Wednesday February 02, 2022

The Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal is Wednesday set to start hearing a case in which Safaricom has petitioned it to block the sector regulator's decision to cut mobile termination rates (MTR) to Sh0.12 per minute from the current Sh0.99 per minute.

MTR are the charges levied by a mobile service provider on other telecommunications service providers for terminating calls in its network.

The CA has said the cut will have a positive impact on both consumers and operators, adding the review will reduce the need for consumers to own multiple SIM cards as charges across networks come down.

But Safaricom while appealing the decision argues the move to cut the charges will negatively impact its revenues and profitability and occasion its financial loss. 


Web 3.0 opens new markets for Africa


Thursday January 27, 2022

Despite the fact that the term Big Data has been around for centuries, it was not until 2005 that it became popular after it was launched by O'Reilly Media.

Over the years leading companies have documented how Big Data has helped them in their businesses, some having used it to cut down their outgoings. Data analytics have helped many businesses to identify new revenue streams, new customers and expand into other areas.

Big Tech companies on the other hand have collected user data and used it to create new value. Unfortunately, many of these companies are implicated in data breaches. Some of the data is improperly obtained for other purposes outside of the intended reason.

The latest iteration of Internet World Wide Web 3.0 (Web 3.0) might shift more control of web content into the user’s hands. This means that users will have more control over their data as stipulated under Article 20 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


CA downplays mobile tariff cut sustainability concerns


Wednesday January 26 2022

The Communications Authority of Kenya says the downward review of the mobile termination rate (MTR) per minute to Sh0.12 from the current Sh0.99 will not hurt the profitability of any player in the sector.

The regulator said that operators ought not to book any gains from the MTR, but rather just recoup the cost of terminating rival operators’ calls on their own network.

“The proposed MTRs of Sh0.12 is sustainable and does not negatively impact industry players’ profitability,” CA said.

“In telecommunications competition regulation principles and best practice, operators ought not to make profits from interconnection, but are meant to recoup the incremental cost of carrying an additional call from another operator, which the reviewed MTR and FTR (fixed termination rate) does.”


How to make fintech pay you good dividends


Technology-enabled financial services have been all the rage the past 12 months, raising impressive amounts of venture funding the world over. The opportunity is clear. The market – both local and pan African - is still open for the taking with several serious contenders.

The field consists of the telco-led, the bank-led, and the independents, each segment having chosen to start with peer to peer value movement and building agent networks to consolidate value.

The history of mobile money in Kenya is well known. Markets tend to do better with strong competition in the same weight class. I was pleasantly surprised to see that T-kash, the mobile money service by Telkom Kenya was getting a rejig.

The aborted merger with Airtel Kenya had sent the service to the dead pool, an anticlimax following its much-hyped entry into mobile financial services.

With the benefit of hindsight and learning from the global market, the strategy team at Telkom has gotten a few things right. The first is to understand that participating in the movement of value is critical to building a marketplace and eventual ecosystem.


LG bets on AI to boost customer experiences

lgLG is deploying artificial intelligence (AI) on a wide-range of home appliances and consumer electronics to offer customers improved services.

The announcement was made at the CES 2022 tech exhibition — formerly consumer electronics show— which is the world’s most influential tech event/exhibition.

“Our job is to support and empower all Kenyans and entire East Africa with our innovations to attain a better life that they deserve not just for them but all those around them,” said LG Electronics East Africa managing director Sa Nyoung Kim.

“We shall continue to do this by offering better convenience, safety and entertainment in a much more personal, inclusive, sustainable and with a heart into the future.”

This comes after the company last year introduced an AI washing machine.

The (AI) powered 2021 Vivace 950 (V950) is the first laundry machine to be launched in the Kenyan market and it will retail at Sh183,000.

The Vivace 950 (V950), which is a line of AI DD washing machines, is an upgrade of the 2020 V900 model. It can detect a cloth weight, a mixed load of t-shirts and pants (different from bedding, delicate and other fabric combinations) as well as detergent, enabling it to customise washing motion, temperature and time for the optimal wash.


Communications Authority cancels Capital FM, NRG and 58 other radio frequencies



Capital FM, NRG and Mbaitu FM are among 60 radio frequencies cancelled by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for failure to comply with their licence offer conditions.

The decision was announced by CA boss Ezra Chiloba on Wednesday, who said the move was undertaken by the agency in accordance with the Kenya Information and Communications Act.

“Take notice that the Authority has commenced regulatory actions against the following listed broadcasters and applicants of broadcasting service provisioning licences for failure to comply with the relevant requirements as provided for in the Act,” said Mr Chiloba.

“In accordance with Section 46C of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, it is illegal to provide any form of broadcasting service in Kenya without a licence issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).”


Why firms must invest more in cyber security



Cyber-attacks are increasingly becoming a constant threat for businesses across the globe and particularly in Africa.

Cybercriminals find Africa an attractive scene to stage the attacks because many firms have yet to invest adequately in anti-hacking measures. Various reports indicate that various African countries, Kenyan among them, have in the recent past witnessed a surge in cases of cyber attacks

Kenyan has had to deal with over 1,400 cyberattacks every week over the last six months, a report by cyber security firm Check Point has revealed.

Data from the Check Point Research Threat Intelligence Report for Kenya highlights how widespread the problem in the country is and how it could become worse next year, with the global average number of weekly attacks being 870.

“It’s alarming to think that Kenyan businesses are dealing with almost 540 more weekly cyber-attacks than their peers across the globe,” Pankaj Bhula, Check Point’s Regional Director for Africa told Digital Business.


Kenya Power to connect rural homes with Internet


Friday December 03, 2021

Loss-making Kenya Power  plans to connect millions of its customers in rural homes with high-speed Internet as part of a fresh plan to capitalise on burgeoning mobile data usage in the country and grow new revenue streams.

This is a step up by the electricity distributor, which has been leasing fibre-optic cables attached to its transmission lines to Internet service providers.

Kenya Power said it would now directly target to connect rural customers with the Internet at a time it has expanded electricity penetration across the country by connecting millions of new homes in rural areas to its national grid.

This will see it take the battle for Internet customers to Telkom Kenya, Kenya Data Networks, Safaricom, Jamii Telecoms, AccessKenya, Essar Telecoms and Wananchi Group that have dominated the Internet market.

“In the medium to long-term, the company is exploring the lit fibre business to increase the penetration of internet connectivity, particularly in the rural areas,” said Kenya Power in its latest annual report.


Online Christmas shopping now target of cyber criminals

cybercrimeBUSINESS DAILY By Winnie Onyando

Thursday November 25, 2021

Cybercriminals now increasingly targeting online shopping platforms that operate through e-payment systems, researchers now warn.

Recent research conducted by Kaspersky, a global cyber security and digital company, shows an increase of 208 percent in online payment fraud amid Black Friday and Christmas season.

“We always witness intensified scamming activity amid the Black Friday season. Perhaps a bit more unexpected is the attention being paid to e-payment systems. This time, we discovered a huge increase by 208percent in a number of attacks mimicking the most popular payment systems,” says Tatyana Shcherbakova, a security expert at Kaspersky.

“Of course, every new payment application is seen by scammers as a new opportunity to potentially exploit users.”

Online shopping platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Jumia, Walmart, eBay and Mercado are now the most targeted platforms by online fraudsters.


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