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Kenya to create online register to curb cyber crime

Kenya , 09 Oct 2015

Kenya to create online register to curb cyber crime

In a bid to curb an increase in digital fraud, Kenya is working to establish an online register that will provide users with a personalised digital identification.

Authorities believe the move will help in the delivery of services online, as well as protect digital assets from being targeted by fraudsters.

Security experts continue to warn users on the risk of online fraud and say that online identities need to be taken more seriously.

Bethwel Opil, channel sales manager for East Africa at Kaspersky Lab, explains that digital identities are considered legal channels of communication.

"Especially for senior public officials, in the government and even in the corporate they have their profiles on Facebook and twitter which are actually their official channels of communication," Opil told ITWeb Africa.

"For them [social media profiles] to be an official communication channel it means they are recognised legally," Opil said.

Many public officials and celebrities in Kenya have established online profiles on all major social media outlets and on various websites. Anything said by these public figures through these channels is automatically assumed to be authentic and from the original source.

Mutahi Ngunyi, a well known political analyst in Kenya, found himself in legal trouble after he tweeted statements that did not favour certain ethnic communities in Kenya.

The complexities of the internet require that authorities fully investigate before statements are attributed to someone. Most public officials would have third parties managing their social media accounts. In some instances, verifying online identities could be a challenge as Opil explains.

"One of the things that should be clear is which account is genuine. You could find a similar account and the person operates with someone else's identity."

Opil urged users not to carelessly click on links on social media as they could have their accounts hacked or send out erroneous messages.

Bethwel urged the Communication Authority to weigh in on the matter and protect online identities of public offices and persons, to enhance clear communication and eliminate online confusion.

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