Kenyans are less troubled about the security of personal data posted on internet, a global survey shows, implying they could be an easy target for cyber criminals.
Only four in every 10 internet users in Kenya are concerned about their privacy online, a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Wednesday shows. This is the lowest level in the world according to the report and ranks poorly against the global average of eight in every 10 users.
“While there appears to be increasing concerns about data privacy and online security around the world, there is somewhat a ‘data privacy paradox’, as users continue to give away personal data and thus their privacy in exchange for different services,” says UNCTAD Digital Economy report published last (Wednesday) evening.
“The lowest level of concern was noted in Kenya at 44 per cent.”
Kenya does not have a data protection law, something that has made citizens suspicious of the State’s data collection efforts such as recent biometric (huduma namba) registration and national census.
UNCTAD’s conclusion is based on findings of the 2019 Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust on 25,229 internet users in select 25 countries in the world between December 21, 2018, and February 10, 2019. Social media platforms such Facebook and Twitter were cited as the second biggest sources of distrust of the internet, only second to cyber criminals.
“Many of these services (Internet searches, social media and online reservations) are offered by various platforms free of charge or on a take-it-or-leave-it basis,” UNCTAD says.
“This situation has been described as someone who is not paying for a product, becomes the product. Therefore, paradoxically, privacy becomes part of the economy.”
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the telecoms sector regulator, said in July Kenyan firms were hit by about 11.2 million cyber threats between January and March this year, a 10.1 percent rise compared with a year earlier.
CA’s cyber intelligence team consequently issued 14,078 cyber threat advisories to the affected organisations, an increase from the 12,138 alerts during the previous period.
Cyber security attacks are estimated to have cost Kenya’s economy about Sh29.5 billion in 2018, a 39.15 percent jump from Sh21.2 billion in 2017, tech consultancy firm, Serianu, said in May. Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt were the only the countries in Africa selected for the survey conducted by Paris-headquartered global research firm, Ipsos, on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in partnership with UNCTAD and the Internet Society.