Tough rules on SIM cards by December, CCK says

Barely two weeks after switching off counterfeit handsets, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has announced that new SIM card regulations will be introduced by December.

According to the CCK, this will help tighten the grip on the possible spread of hate speech ahead of the country’s general elections scheduled for March 4 next year.

CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said that about 80 percent of subscribers in Kenya have registered their SIM cards. “To avoid crime and hate speech through mobile phones, the government will put in place regulations to ensure that all users are identified,” he added.

Wangusi expressed that the new SIM card law will ensure that no one uses mobile phones to create tensions during the general elections slated for March 2013.

There has been a major concern about possible use of mobile phones to spread hate speech messages over the mobile networks, and the government in partnership with the mobile operators has been working on the best formula to mitigate or completely prevent such cases from arising.

According to the CCK, it is for this reason that all subscribers in Kenya were required to have their SIM cards registered.

CCK adds that this will also enable the government to eradicate mobile-based crimes such as kidnappings and fraud in the country.

The recent paralysing of counterfeit phones saw over 1.5 million handsets rendered inactive, something that concerned stakeholders on the amount of e-waste created as a result.

On this, the CCK said that it will be working closely with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to ensure that e-waste from counterfeits phones is “disposed of without damaging the environment.”

However, the CCK already faces another problem after it emerged that some scrupulous traders were reactivating the switched off handsets.

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