The past few years have seen seismic shifts in the ICT sector in Kenya. The shift from analogue to digital TV broadcast has resulted in the emergence of new digital TV stations providing news, information and entertainment to Kenyans. Equally, the rise in mobile phone penetration has seen the government race against time to have all SIM-card holders properly registered. Thirdly, the competition within the telecommunication sector has led to a push for infrastructure sharing among players in the telecommunications industry. Also, the multifaceted nature of today’s telecommunications customers has increased the need for the regulation of interconnection between networks.
In light of these developments, the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs proposed four new regulations under the Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA). The new draft regulations include the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting ) Regulations, 2022; the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of Telecommunications Service Subscribers) Regulations, 2022; the Kenya Information and Communications (Access and Infrastructure Sharing) regulations; and, the Kenya Information and Communications (Interconnection) Regulations 2022.
The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), in collaboration with Access Now, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa and the Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT), considered the four regulations and prepared a joint submission. The submission highlights key concerns with the regulations and makes key proposals to enrich the regulations.
With respect to the Broadcasting Regulations, the submission proposes the introduction of a requirement on the regulator to develop guidelines for broadcasters on their obligations during political contests such as elections. It also proposes that the Communications Authority be required to publish local content guidelines and schedules on a defined periodic basis as opposed to from time to time as currently proposed.
The joint submission proposes that the Registration of Telecommunications Service Subscribers Regulations requires SIM-card registration databases or repositories should be hosted locally. Also, that access to the repository or specific information about a subscriber should only be granted for a specified and lawful purpose. It also proposes that operators be required to conduct data protection impact assessment and annual independent data protection audit to assess their compliance with their data protection obligations. Further, telecommunications companies should be required to publish their privacy policies, and transparency reports and take reasonable steps to ensure that the subscribers are informed of the decisions.
The key proposal under the Access and Infrastructure Sharing Regulations is the introduction of grounds on which an operator may deny access to its infrastructure. Under, the Interconnection Regulations is a proposal to have access to information provided for in the interconnection agreements and an explanation given on the type of data to be exchanged.
Read the submissions here.
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