Technology, Media and Telecommunications – Kenya

Our Partner, Brian Tororei, contributed the Kenya Chapter in The Technology, Media and Telecommunications Review – Edition 8. The fully updated edition provides an overview of evolving legal constructs in 26 jurisdictions around the world. It is intended as a business-focused framework for both start-ups and established companies as well as an overview for those interested in examining evolving law and policy in the rapidly changing Technology, Media and Telecommunications sector.

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The Chapter on Kenya takes an eagle view on the developments within the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector in Kenya from the laying down of the Kenya ICT Master Plan 2017 in 2013, the landing of various submarines cables, the launch of the National Optic Fibre Backbone infrastructure (NOFBI), the digital migration in 2015 and takes an telescopic view into the future of Blockchain Technology, Internet of Things, Geospatial Information Systems and the deployment of 4G among others.

It gives a brief overview of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector in Kenya followed by broad discussions on Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector Legal and Regulatory Framework; Telecommunications and Internet Access; Spectrum Policy; Media; The Year in Review and the Conclusions and Outlook.

Detailed discussions touch on issues such as the regulators in Kenya’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector, the Regulated Activities; Ownership and market access restrictions; Transfers of control and assignments; Internet and internet protocol regulation; Universal service; Restrictions on the provision of service; Security; Spectrum Policy Development; Flexible spectrum use; Broadband and next-generation mobile spectrum use; Spectrum auctions and fee; Restrictions on the provision of services in Kenya’s Media Industry; and Internet-delivered video content.

Under the 2017 Year in Review, the Chapter highlights a number of developments in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications Sector including the cabinet approval of the Computers and Cybercrime Bill, 2017; and the approval of the Draft Wireless Broadband Spectrum Policy, 2017.

The Chapter also gives a brief review of the Republic v. Communications Authority of Kenya ex-parte Geonet Communications Limited & 5 others, High Court of Kenya at Nairobi, JR Miscellaneous Civil Application No. 358 of 2015, [2016] eKLR (G V Odunga J, 19 September 2016) where GeoNet Communications Limited indicts Kenya’s three major and other MNOs for violating the interconnection regulations.

The Chapter concludes with a positive high noting that Kenya is moving rapidly towards its target of being Africa’s ICT hub notably with the landing of various submarine cables and the deployment of NOFBI.

NOFBI Map

The Chapter appreciates that increased internet penetration and access is likely to be experienced with continued deployment of the NOFBI by private telecoms through the last-mile connections and their respective fibre network.

The Chapter looks out for increased deployment of 4G and enhanced use experience, the passing of the Computers and Cybercrime Bill, 2017 into law as a major boost to cybersecurity, increased interest and investment in internet of things (IoT) by both government and private players in the ICT sector.

The Chapter forecasts the adoption of IoT for the deployment of an asset data hub providing for, inter alia, asset unique identifiers, a transport information management system and smart ID cards for livestock and the adoption of Blockchain Technology in the banking and financial services sector, the health sector, the insurance sector, the stock trading sector and the land sector.

Read the Chapter


At TLO Law Associates, we care about Technology, Media and Telecommunications.

Our legal representation, advisory and consultancy services spans through, Technology, Data Privacy and Protection, Cyber Security, Media and Telecommunications among others. For legal assistance, or more information on our services, kindly contact us.


Note & Disclaimer:

The information included in this article was correct at the time it was written and uploaded to this website.

This publication is not intended to constitute legal advice which can only be given having regard to particular facts and circumstances. Any liability, damage, loss or injury that would or could arise from or of the contents hereof, directly or indirectly is hereby excluded.

Always seek professional advice from a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

We are here to serve you. To initiate the process for specialised legal assistance, kindly contact us.

PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER that contacting us DOES NOT in itself create a relationship between us and you.


 

US Supreme Court gives Privacy New Breath

The US Supreme Court rules in Carpenter v United States, 16-402,  that the federal government generally needs a warrant to access historical cell phone location records, finding that the data deserves more stringent protection than other customer information held by service providers.

The Petitioner, Timothy Ivory Carpenter was charged in 2011 with six counts of robbery and an additional six counts of carrying a firearm during a federal crime of violence. However, there was no direct evidence linking him to the robberies.

Based on the information the FBI had extracted from other suspects potentially linking Carpenter to the robberies, the prosecutors applied for court orders under the Stored Communications Act to obtain Carpenter’s and several other suspects’ cell phone records.

Subsequently, the Government obtained Carpenter’s cell-site location information (CSLI). These are time-stamped records that a phone generates each time it connects to a cell site, without any affirmative act on the user’s part beyond powering.

[Image Credit: https://www.aclu.org]

From the CSLI records, 12,898 location points cataloguing Carpenter’s movements over 127 days—an average of 101 data points per day were obtained.

Carpenter’s move before the District Court to suppress the data, arguing Government’s violation of the Fourth Amend­ment, prohibiting seizure of the records without obtaining a warrant supported by probable cause, was denied.

The prosecutors relying Carpenter’s CSLI records and the on circumstantial evidence derived therefrom, showed the Trial Court that Carpenter’s phone was near four of the robbery locations at the time those robberies occurred thus securing a conviction.

The Federal Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the Trial Courts conviction, holding that Carpen­ter lacked a reasonable expectation of privacy in the location infor­mation collected by the FBI because he had shared that information with his wireless carriers.

The 5-4 US Supreme Court Opinion reverses the Court of Appeal decision finding that historical cell phone location records deserve heightened protection under the Fourth Amendment. The Court stated that “individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the whole of their physical movements.”

The Court addressed itself to the application of the Fourth Amendment to the digital age ability to chronicle a person’s past movements through the record of his cell phone signals vis-à-vis the government’s right to seize and search.

While stating that historical cell-site records present even greater privacy concerns than the GPS monitoring since they give the Government near perfect surveillance allowing it to travel back in time to retrace a person’s whereabouts, the Court found it ironic for Government to contend on the one hand that CSLI data is less precise than GPS information, while having relied on and highlighting the data’s accuracy during its closing argument in Car­penter’s trial.

The Court also took judicial notice of technological advancement in the field of surveillance and telecommunication stating that:

“At any rate, the rule the Court adopts ‘must take ac­count of more sophisticated systems that are already in use or in development,’ and the accuracy of CSLI is rapidly approaching GPS-level precision.”

The Court also stated that:

“Mapping a cell phone’s location over the course of 127 days provides an all-encompassing record of the holder’s whereabouts. As with GPS information, the time­-stamped data provides an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his ‘familial, political, professional, reli­gious, and sexual associations.’”

Mapping of CSLI in a similar case: People v. Moalawi [Image Credits: https://www.eff.org]

The US Supreme Court decision is an insightful contribution to jurisprudence. It highlights the conflict between analogue and digital and the need to contextualise precedents while also addressing the place of circumstantial evidence in the digital era and in sharp conflict with the fundamental right of privacy.

Read related stories here, here, here and here.

At TLO Law Associates, we care about Technology, Privacy and Telecommunication.

Our legal representation, advisory and consultancy services spans through, Technology, Data Privacy and Protection, Dispute Resolution and Telecommunication among others. For legal assistance, or more information on our services, kindly contact us.

Note & Disclaimer:

The information included in this article was correct at the time it was written and uploaded to this website.

This publication is not intended to constitute legal advice which can only be given having regard to particular facts and circumstances. Any liability, damage, loss or injury that would or could arise from or of the contents hereof, directly or indirectly is hereby excluded.

Always seek professional advice from a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

We are here to serve you. To initiate the process for specialised legal assistance, kindly contact us.

PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER that contacting us DOES NOT in itself create a relationship between us and you.

Calls for Tough SIM Card Registration Enforcement

CS Mucheru in a past event.

The fight against mobile phones and other ICT infrastructure abuse and misuse intensifies as Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Joe Mucheru, calls for tough measures on enforcement of SIM card registration within the East African Community (EAC).

This call is part of a greater effort to promote safe use of ICT infrastructure within EAC and to wade off criminals who are increasingly misusing ICT infrastructure, including unregistered SIM Cards to perpetrate crimes, including terrorism and kidnapping.

Speaking during the 25th East African Communications Organization (EACO) Assemblies in Nairobi, Mr.Mucheru called on Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to strictly adhere to the SIM Card registration regulations so as to help law enforcement agencies within the region to track down criminals.

Mr. Mucheru’s concerns bolster Kenya’s Telecoms Regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) recent directions to the MNOs to deactivate all unregistered or partially unregistered SIM cards within their networks.

The CA also recently conducted a crackdown on SIM cards hawkers. At least  sixty-two (62) SIM Card hawkers were apprehended and charged.

The combined efforts of the Ministry of ICT and the CA are aimed at positioning Kenya and the East Africa as a single investment market, and catalyzing the realization of our region’s ultimate goal of political and monetary integration, while eliminating the challenges posed by cybercrime.

Related story: Mobile Subscribers Providing False Information in SIM Card Registration Risk Six Months in Jail

At TLO Law Associates, we care about the Telecommunication Service providers and consumers.

Our legal representation, advisory and consultancy services spans through, Corporate and Commercial, Consumer Protection and Competition, Technology and Telecommunication among others. For legal assistance, or more information on our services, kindly contact us.

Note & Disclaimer:

The information included in this article was correct at the time it was written and uploaded to this website.

This publication is not intended to constitute legal advice which can only be given having regard to particular facts and circumstances. Any liability, damage, loss or injury that would or could arise from or of the contents hereof, directly or indirectly is hereby excluded.

Always seek professional advice from a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

We are here to serve you. To initiate the process for specialised legal assistance, kindly contact us.

PLEASE NOTE HOWEVER that contacting us DOES NOT in itself create a relationship between us and you.

Airtel 4G, the New Kid in the Block!

Airtel Kenya finally operationalises its 4G licence. Following its launch of the 4G (Forth Generation) services, which are presently limited to Mombasa and Nairobi, before other roll outs countrywide, Airtel becomes the fourth entrant in the Kenya 4G market.

Airtel Kenya Managing Director Prasanta Das Sarma speaking during the launch of 4G network in Nairobi on 2 May 2018.

Airtel’s 4G service runs on a 10MHz block of the 800MHz frequency spectrum which also accommodates Safaricom’s and Telcom’s 10MHz respective blocks. The 4G licences which are pegged to the allotted frequency spectrum were first issued to the three telcos on trial basis but to be operationalised upon payment of the Kenya Shillings Twenty Five Million (Kshs. 25,000,000.00/=) only.

Jamii Telecommunications, a tier 2 telecommunications company launched its 4G services in December 2017. Its 4G services run on the coveted 700MHz frequency spectrum which became available following Kenya’s successful digital migration in 2015.

To incentivise its customers, Airtel offers free 2GB of Data to its customers upon successful upgrades to 4G SIM cards.

Airtel noted during the launch that it is committed to continuously innovate and improve the quality of its products and services for a delightful customer experience. While Airtel’s launch, appears late in time, it is indeed timely as it rides on the goodwill already generated by the other players regarding 4G.

It would be interesting to see how the now four major players in the Kenya 4G market will structure their products and services as in order to meet the growing need for internet access in Kenya.

Read more here, here and here.

At KT Law Associates, we offer legal services on, Technology, Media and Telecommunication, Competition Law and Consumer Protection among other areas law. For more information on the Kenya’s TMT Sector and other legal assistance, kindly contact us.