The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has set up new rules that require all internet service providers (ISPs) to issue devices with unique IP addresses by the end of the year, to prevent user anonymity on the networks.
The regulator is also working on new licensing regulations which spell out the penalties that will be imposed on ISPs who do not comply with the new requirements.
“We are working on new licensing conditions for ISPs and if need be regulations that will enable us (CCK) to enforce the new standards because as things stand now they are not incorporated in the current conditions,” Michael Katundu, director of information technology at the CCK told BusinessDailyAfrica.
The new requirement is said to force the ISPs to buy more IP addresses to cater for all the unique gadgets on its networks, a cost that has hitherto been avoided by connecting multiple gadgets using one IP address.
Ministry of Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo urged the service providers, including mobile phone operators, to comply with the new requirement before the end of the year to avoid any breach of law. He said that with the information on the users captured via the IP addresses, they will be linked to a government database that will be used to trace criminals and fight cybercrime in the country.
Cybercrime has been a cause of worry in Africa as a whole. It is reported that cybercrime is growing more quickly in Africa than any other part of the world. Kenya lost KSh3 billion (US$35 million) to cybercrime in 2011, 0.05 percent of GDP, while South Africa lost 0.01 percent of GDP.