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Kenya's SIM card laws flouted

Kenya's SIM card laws flouted

Kenya's Communications Authority has revealed the findings of its market surveillance and forensic audit of operator data and the SIM card registration process in the country which it says has found that the law is being flouted.

Operators and consumers in Kenya are contravening regulations governing SIM card registration, according to the country's Communications Authority (CA).

The regulator has carried out a market surveillance and forensic audit of operator data, including the SIM card registration process.

Although the full report is yet to be made public, the CA's Director General Francis Wangusi made reference to the findings in a recent presentation.

Wangusi said the audit revealed that a number of agents do not request identification documents at the point of purchase of the SIM cards.

"There is also little or no verification of the identities of SIM card buyers vis a vis the documents they have presented. It was further noted that hawking of SIM cards was still rampant, and in some cases, the agents were also charging buyers an additional fee for registration."

He added that the audit also sought to establish the completeness and accuracy of the registration data.

"The audit revealed that while all the MNOs had data access security policies in place, there were a number of nonconformities with the SIM card registration regulations. In cases where subscribers used passports as a form of identification, various anomalies were noted, especially in the numerical length of the Kenyan passports."

"According to the findings, it was evident that operators are not in control of the agents. This was occasioned by weak controls in management of SIM sales agents. In most cases, a dangerous trend was noted where the MNO databases that had records which appeared to have been populated from other secondary sources. Other SIM cards were found to have multiple registrations with different identity details, with potential use for criminal purposes."

Information featured in subscriber databases was generally incomplete and inaccurate, according to the CA and it believes the trend jeopardises the security of citizens.

Wangusi said MNOs have been ordered to review their respective subscriber registration databases and ensure agents verify identification documents.

They have also been directed to submit details of agents and sub-agents that deal in sales and subscriber registration on their behalf, to the Authority.

"I wish to once again remind all Kenyans that SIM-card registration regulations outlawed the hawking of SIM cards. Hawking SIM cards is an offence that attracts a fine of up to Ksh.500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both. In addition, subscribers must appear in person and provide correct information. Providing incorrect information is an offence that attracts a fine Ksh.100,000 or imprisonment for six months or both."

The CA plans to undertake a further audit in three months to ascertain compliance with these directives.

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