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<nettime> Ars Technica > Kenya to require users of public Wi-Fi to register with government


Law & Disorder / Civilization & Discontents

Kenya to require users of public Wi-Fi to register with government

New Internet regs will require cafés, hotels to log device owner data.

   by Sean Gallagher - Jul 1, 2015 2:16 pm UTC

   The head of Kenya's Communications Authority, Francis Wangusi,
   announced a new set of regulations on Tuesday aimed at combatting
   cybercrime in the country. The new rules would require all users of
   devices with wireless networking capability to register their devices
   with the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)--much in the same way
   that some US states require registration of assault rifles and sex

   Yesterday, in a speech before the annual general meeting of the
   Association of Regulators of Information and Communications for Eastern
   and Southern Africa (ARICEA), Wangusi said, "We will license KENIC to
   register device owners using their national identity cards and
   telephone numbers. The identity of a device will be known when it
   connects to Wi-Fi." He also said that the Communications Authority
   would set up a forensics laboratory within three months to "proactively
   monitor impending cybersecurity attacks, detect reactive cybercrime,
   and link up with the judiciary in the fight," according to a report
   from Kenya's Daily Nation.

   The registry will enable Kenyan authorities to "be able to trace people
   using national identity cards that were registered and their phone
   numbers keyed in during registration" if the devices are associated
   with criminal activity on the Internet, Wangusi said. The regulation
   would apply to anyone connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. KENIC would
   maintain the database of devices; anyone connecting to a public network
   at a hotel, cafe, or other business would be required to register
   before accessing it. If businesses providing Wi-Fi fail to comply with
   the regulation, they could have their Internet services cut off.

   Additionally, Wangusi announced that all Kenyan businesses will be
   required to host their websites within Kenya, purportedly to "avoid
   extra costs associated with sending data out to a different location
   and back again to the website owner," reported Daily Nation's
   Lilian Ochieng.

   Kenya has just taken over the chair of ARICEA, which coordinates
   Internet and telecommunications policy across the members of the Common
   Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). That puts Wangusi and
   the Communication Authority of Kenya in a position to press for similar
   Internet regulations in the other 20 member states in Africa's free
   trade area, which spans from Libya to Namibia.

   Sean Gallagher / Sean is Ars Technica's IT Editor. A former Navy
   officer, systems administrator, and network systems integrator with 20
   years of IT journalism experience, he lives and works in Baltimore,
   Maryland.   {AT} thepacketrat on Twitter  

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