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Kenya government reportedly working on how to control users access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and OTT apps

by Milicent Atieno
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Kenya like most African countries has in recent years looked East for business; though mostly in form of loans for development projects from China. We all know too well how tight-grip the government of China has over the internet. Everything is vetted and closely monitored.

It would appear Kenya government borrowed more than just loans for development projects. It has borrowed the tight-hands China government has over the internet. It is reported that the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) is looking for a consultant who will do a study and determine how the government could regulate the over-the-top services. That includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, and Hangout among other OTT app.

This move will necessitate internet service providers in the countries and telcos share their customers’ private data with the government. The CA is seeking ways it can control the OTT apps, which are mostly not domiciled in Kenya.

As per the CA regulations, owners of these OTT services must have to comply with the “security and confidentiality provisions.” The proposed law could also be benched on how telecommunications companies are expected to comply with requests from security agencies pertaining to their subscribers’ private data.

As for the owners of the OTT services, they are increasingly facing regulations from governments. Particularly within the EU where tougher regulations have been introduced to the American companies.

Telecommunication companies around the world have for years been complaining that the OTT services get such light regulations. While they are supposed to comply with so very restrictive regulations while setting up very costly telecommunication infrastructure. OTT then comes in and find everything set up so they incur little cost to have users communicate via their services. They also don’t have to follow some of the regulations set up by the authorities.

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