Kenya calls for tough action on SIM registration within EAC
Kenya ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru has called for tough measures on enforcement of SIM card registration within the East African Community (EAC) as part of efforts to promote safe use of ICT infrastructure within the region.
Mr.Mucheru said criminals are increasingly misusing ICT infrastructure, including unregistered SIM Cards to perpetrate crimes, including terrorism and kidnaps.
Speaking during the 25th East African Communications Organization (EACO) Assemblies in Nairobi, Mr.Mucheru said mobile network operators must strictly adhere to the SIM card registration to help law enforcement agencies within the region to track down criminals.
‘‘If some countries or mobile operators do not enforce SIM card registration to the letter, criminal elements shall continue misusing unregistered SIM cards from neighboring countries to perpetrate criminal activities across our borders,’’ said Mr.Mucheru.
Mr.Mucheru also decried the upsurge of misuse of mobile phone device across the region, given that counterfeit devices denied service in one country can still find their way in networks of neighbouring countries.
‘‘These devices, like unregistered SIM cards, are hard to track down in case of misuse for criminal purposes. EACO membership must therefore see how best to help governments deal with the menace of counterfeits. I am positive that EACO is up to the task,’’ he added.
Mr. Mucheru’s concerns come barely two weeks after the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) directed all mobile operators to deactivate all unregistered or partially unregistered SIM cards within their networks.
East African Community and Northern Corridor Development Cabinet Secretary Mr.Peter Munya who attended the event lauded ongoing efforts to harmonize regulatory and policies within the region.
‘‘Harmonization of ICT Policy and regulatory frameworks is indeed the way to go in positioning East Africa as a single investment market, and catalyzing the realization of our region’s ultimate goal of political and monetary integration,’’ said Mr.Munya.
Universal Postal Union Director General Amb.Bishar Hussein who attended the event challenged African governments to focus on revitalizing the postal sector to take advantage of emerging opportunities in electronic commerce (e-commerce).
EACO was established foster the growth of ICTs, strengthen and promote cooperation in the development and provision of postal, telecommunications and broadcasting services in the East African Community.
CA chairman Mr.Ngene Gituku called on EACO member states to work closely towards harnessing the potential of ICTs in enhancing access to financial, communication, e-commerce and a host of other services.
In the same vein, CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi, who is also the chairman of EACO, said lack of an enforcement mechanism was hampering implementation EACO decisions at the local and regional level.
According to the EACO Executive Secretary Dr.Ali Simba, the organization is working towards becoming a specialized agency of the East African community (EAC) to enable it have greater impact in the region.
EACO Assemblies offer a unique opportunity for sharing of experiences and ideas on emerging technologies and how they impact ICT and policy within the EAC.
The Authority is hosting the five-day event, which brings together policy makers, legislators, regulators, operators and service providers in the ICT sector, academia and ICT consumers within EAC region.