The Communications Commission of Kenya has proposed a licensing condition that may compel Internet service providers (ISPs) to bring websites hosted offshore back to the country in the fight against cyber crime.
The regulator says it will license a new body next year to issue and manage local Internet addresses and make it mandatory for firms to host their websites in Kenya.
Most ISPs prefer to host their data outside the country to benefit from economies of scale from international firms that have bulk clients compared to local data centres as well enjoy enhanced documents protection laws abroad.
CCK says hosting of websites outside Kenya has made it difficult to trace cyber criminals, exposing the country to losses.
“In order to keep our local traffic within the country and make it easy for us to trace cyber criminals, we are proposing in future that all ISPs be compelled to have their clients websites hosted locally,” Francis Wangusi, CCK director said on Monday at a cyber security conference in Nairobi.
The absence of local data protection laws has made firms jittery to host their data locally. Article 31 of the Constitution grants citizens the right to privacy, including a clause preventing infringement of “the privacy of their communication,” but Parliament is yet to debate and pass the Data Protection Bill 2013.
CCK is also working on new licensing conditions that will see all gadgets connected to the Internet — like computers, tablets and mobile handsets —offered a unique address by the ISPs to identify the users of the gadgets. This is aimed at curbing the growing incidence of cyber-crime and hate speech.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i noted that Kenya is losing nearly Sh2 billion annually to cyber crime thus the need for the country to enact appropriate laws that strike a balance between rights to privacy and the country’s security.