Kenya Government Has No Plans To Register Your Smartphone

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Last week, the media was awash with reports that the Communication Authority of Kenya will require all Kenyan Citizens to register their smartphones with KENIC. The reports elicited mixed reaction on social media and in the media. However, Techweez reported authoritatively that the likely outcome of such an exercise will be the issuing IP addresses to all internet users.

The Communication Authority of Kenya Director General Francis Wangusi clarified the same by saying there are no plans by the government to register user devices. The same was also echoed by KENIC chairman Kris Senanu. The government plans to offer digital identities to all internet users in Kenya.  The project has been in the works since 2012, when the government commissioned the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) with the intent of  issuing securely signed digital certificates through a trusted certificate authority who in this case is KENIC.The implementation of this plan will be made easier by the deployment of IPV6, which is one of the mandates of KENIC.

The issuance of these digital certificates and IP addresses will bolster the fight against cyber crime allow for fighting vices such as terrorism and hate speech online. It will further increase the uptake of e-Government services. Other areas of the economy such as financial services and storage of medical health information will also benefit. The project is  in line with the  Communication Authority’s National Cyber Security Framework, a multi-sectoral defense strategy aimed at combating increasing cases. Currently the National Computer Incident Response Team  handles cyber security incidents with plans to establish a forensic laboratory to support these efforts.

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