Counterfeit handset crackdown to be ‘humane’
GOVERNMENTBy BiztechAfrica - Aug. 30, 2011, 12:33 p.m.
Kenya’s CCK has given the assurance that the phasing out of counterfeit handsets will be done in such a way that innocent mobile phone users won’t be punished. It is thought that up to three million people could find their phones are fake.
The CCK recently announced a crackdown on grey market and fake mobile phones, with reports that operators would be asked to summarily switch off services to such handsets. This raised fears that millions of consumers who had unwittingly bought grey market devices would suffer.
However, in a statement issued this week, the CCK gave the assurance that the planned phasing out of use of counterfeit handset would be done “iin a humane manner” with minimal inconvenience to mobile telephone users.
Acting CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said CCK would hold a consultative meeting with industry players and other stakeholders on September 9 to discuss the matter with a view to charting a pragmatic solution to the problem.
He said the phasing out of fake handsets was meant to assist mobile users in the recovery of their phones in case of theft through use of tracking equipment. The initiative is also meant to secure mobile money transactions.
Counterfeit phones come with duplicated or tampered with International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, making it difficult for mobile operators to use Equipment Identification Registers (EIR) to track and de-activate stolen handsets.
IMEI numbers are important in tracking stolen or handsets used to perpetrate crime. Wangusi said governments globally were putting regulatory mechanisms in place to phase out the use of fake handsets. Counterfeit phones have either duplicated or reprogrammed IMEI numbers.
Wangusi said only 9.93% of the total 25 million mobile subscribers in the country have counterfeit handsets, according to data obtained from mobile phone companies. He affirmed CCK’s commitment towards working closely with industry players in order to eliminate all fake handsets in the market.
At the same time, he urged members of the public to buy handsets from authorized dealers to avoid the risks associated with use of counterfeit handsets.
Changing the identity or interfering with operations of a mobile handset or possession of reprogramming equipment is a crime in Kenya which attracts a fine of Kshs 1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to five years or both.
Wangusi called on those engaging in this business to stop doing so immediately before the law enforcement agencies caught up with them.
MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS
NCS: deploy CCTV to tackle insecurityThe President of the Nigerian Computer Society, Prof. David Adewumi, has urged the Federal Government to invest massively on the installation of Close Circuit Television, CCTV, in strategic places across the nation to address security challenges. Read More
Kenyan capital adopts e-payment systemThe Nairobi City County Government has moved to ease payment for services and streamline revenue collection by switching to e-payments. Read More
Congo-Brazzaville to launch digital governance agencyThe Republic of Congo will soon launch a digital governance agency, to monitor and control the implementation of the country’s ICT projects. Read More
Malawi launches Internet Governance ForumThe Malawi Government and Nepad have launched the Malawi Internet Governance Forum in an effort to bring a semblance of order to the internet services in the country. Read More
Environmentalists welcome improved technologyParticipants in a recent Monitoring For Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) conference in Botswana were upbeat about the new technologies that MESA is harnessing. Read More
Kaberuka addresses Africa’s infrastructure gap at OECDAfrican Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka made a strong case for the importance of tackling private investment impediments in the African infrastructure agenda during the joint AfDB, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and International Growth Center (IGC) event in Paris. Read More
Kenya inaugurates USACKenya’s new Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC) has been inaugurated by the Cabinet Secretary, Information, Communications and Technology. Read More
Education Minister: ICT vital in schoolsBotswana’s Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has called for an increased uptake of ICTs in all schools in the country. Read More
Innovation Hub introduces new officesThe Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has opened two new offices to services its wider clientele base. Read More
FEATURED STORYWidening ICT skills gap: Cause for concern
Nigeria's FDI gains could be eroded by the widening gap in indigenous skilled ICT manpower, writes Kokumo Goodie.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.