Telcos regulator seeks to monitor WhatsApp

With its current business model, I doubt whether the app gets any revenue
from Kenya. Taxing whatsapp would mean taxing Kenyans for using the
platform, not FB.

On Tue, Nov 6, 2018, 11:10 AM Barrack Otieno via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke wrote:

> Hi Ebele,
>
> You are best placed to give us guidance on that question. The reason
> why this conversation is getting complicated is lack of statistics on
> the so called benefits carriers are losing because of OTTs. Might you
> be having any statistics on the same. It appears unanimity among
> regulators in our region on the issue is growing.
>
> Regards
>
> On 11/6/18, Ebele Okobi via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
> wrote:
> > This is a fascinating and very timely conversation. As I’m sure all can
> > imagine, I have many thoughts. ?
> > I do have a question, first-how much revenue does WhatsApp derive from
> > Kenya?
> >
> > On Nov 6, 2018, at 7:45 AM, evelyne wanjiku via kictanet
> > <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>>
> > wrote:
> >
> > Dear All,
> >
> > In suppport of Mr. Patrick Mainas Maina’s input.
> >
> > The government needs to consider taxing the platforms. This is because
> they
> > make money from us trade in our data and the revenue genereted benefits
> > their countries and not ours given that they do not pay taxes here. This
> has
> > been considered in Europe. In africa however, no country can apply this
> > taxes on its own due to our ‘economically colonised’ position our
> countries
> > find ourselves in. This means that the easiest option for our government
> > becomes the easy route which is taxing the end user. This is
> > counterproductive especially for those who use social media for
> productive
> > activities. Therefore only a united african front would be succesful in
> > getting these giants to pay up and keep our governments from considering
> > taxing citizens. It is also important to consider that calls made on
> > whatsapp, skype,viber cost less. This means that there is revenue
> reduction
> > for the companies providing voice services. Considering that these
> companies
> > are locally based and pay taxes to our government, why should their
> revenue
> > be reduced by services that do not pay taxes to us? I suppose this is the
> > logic used by countries like the UAE that block the use of whatsapp to
> make
> > calls whithin their borders.
> >
> > As for the ability of whatsapp to cause chaos, this is true and has been
> > proven and whatsapp itself has acknowlegded this fact in countries like
> > India and Pakistan. These are countries where fake news and inflammatory
> > messages delivered mainly through whatsapp have led to chaos that have
> led
> > to deaths of many people. Whatsapp has responded by putting in measures
> to
> > ensure that such spread of hate news can be controlled from their end.
> > Whatsapp also remains open open to suggestions as to how this can be
> > contolled and is actively leading research in this area.
> >
> > The question therefore should be, should we leave Whatsapp to be in
> charge
> > of what is transfered on their platform and the consequences that follow?
> > Should government have a role in monitoring how whatsapp is being used
> for
> > harmful activities. Overall what is the role of government and the
> various
> > platforms in ensuring this platform and others are used responsibly?
> >
> > Good day to all
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 3:44:22 AM GMT+3, Francis Monyango via
> > kictanet
> > <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>>
> > wrote:
> >
> >
> > Morning Mr Patrick Maina,
> >
> > You mention how messaging apps facilitate fake news, crime and other
> things.
> > You also lay peace,development on a scale versus human rights such as
> free
> > speech and privacy.
> > Sir, it is good to be objective and factual. Last year Kenya had 10
> months
> > of hot politics. Research shows that the Kenyan authorities did not
> attempt
> > to control, disrupt or shutdown the internet. Hence this tired line of
> the
> > country going into flames because of the internet (messaging apps)
> doesn’t
> > hold any weight. The number of Kenyan users of these messaging apps and
> > other factors such as social class of users, bots affect the impact of
> the
> > internet in democratic transitions. The broadcast media shut down in
> January
> > should tell which communication medium has more impact on the Kenyan
> > society. ?
> >
> > I believe your intention was to state why companies that offer over the
> top
> > services should pay taxes here. That is a different argument all together
> > with a different set of facts unless you are advocating for a blanket
> over
> > the top tax to be paid by users to avoid ‘spread of gossip and lies’ just
> > like in Uganda.
> >
> >
> > On Fri, 2 Nov 2018, 13:26 Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet,
> > <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>>
> > wrote:
> > These messaging apps facilitate fake news, crime, foreign meddling (to
> > subvert democracy), brainwashing and hate speech on a massive scale. We
> know
> > this for a fact.
> >
> > So as citizens and stakeholders in our country, we need to ask: what do
> we
> > value more, is it things that improve peace, stability, economic
> development
> > and democracy, OR, is it some utopian, unbounded notion of free speech
> and
> > privacy that is disconnected from our contextual reality (e.g. protects
> > criminals, malicious defamers and violence mongers in equal proportion as
> > law abiding citizens)?
> >
> > The companies running these uncontrolled messaging platforms will not be
> > impacted if our country goes up in flames. They cost governments tons of
> > money in maintaining internal security (especially during democratic
> > transitions – sometimes to existential levels) yet they don’t pay any
> > taxes… and mark you, they are *billion dollar* companies! This also
> means
> > that funds that ought to have bought, say, medicine to save lives gets
> > diverted to fix an *imported problem* with no path to holding the parent
> > company accountable for damage caused.
> >
> > Gok needs to modernize our tax laws, which currently are based on the
> > traditional “for profit” enterprise model and thus out of touch with
> Silicon
> > Valley’s “make losses by design” model. The basic assumption that
> > entrepreneurship is a profit oriented endeavour does not hold for Silicon
> > Valley VC subsidized companies. They are designed to operate as loss
> makers
> > for decades (but still move *massive* amounts of financial resources at
> > massive scale). This has the technical effect of *tax avoidance* because
> > massive profits *are* still being made by the offshore VCs – which denies
> > governments billions in taxes (despite imposing local burdens as
> illustrated
> > above).
> >
> >
> > A smart government would create modernized laws to tax VC funded Silicon
> > Valley companies e.g. on the basis of *funding rounds* and *valuations*
> > because this is their *real* business i.e. its how the investors intend
> to
> > make money from day one – and the primary reason they push for perpetual
> > losses!
> >
> > There should also be a turnover tax and VAT on online revenue earned in
> > Kenya by foreign billion dollar internet companies (e.g. advertisement
> > revenue and appstore revenue), to level the tax playing field for local
> > businesses. Similar to what other countries like the UK are working on:
> >
> > www.wired.co.uk/article/facebook-uk-tax-bill<
> urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.wired.co.uk_article_facebook-2Duk-2Dtax-2Dbill&d=DwMFaQ&c=5VD0RTtNlTh3ycd41b3MUw&r=ArvepG4_wcNu_X9xi3nb_Xa9WsGLVfmK6mwPdVONOTE&m=t74BOKebo761FiLlF3R…
> >
> >
> > CA will obviously have a hard time monitoring and enforcing though, under
> > the current traditional framework due to technical barriers (e.g.
> > encryption) and also due to jurisdictional challenges.
> >
> > So the other thing that CA really needs to do once the rules are set is
> to
> > consider blocking non-compliant foreign apps completely at ISP level
> > (especially now that political temperatures are cool and people and
> thinking
> > clearly). Lets have local startups filling any gaps with copycat apps
> > China-style.
> >
> > To be clear, I support free speech and privacy. But I also support peace,
> > stability, safe neighbourhoods, democracy, sovereignty and economic
> > predictability!
> >
> > A delicate balance is needed to maximise the rights of law abiding
> citizens
> > while minimising the ability of those with evil intent to exploit basic
> > rights in order to harm the innocent.
> >
> > Good day.
> > Patrick.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thursday, November 1, 2018, 11:00:44 PM GMT+3, Grace Githaiga via
> > kictanet
> > <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>>
> > wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > Kenya is considering regulating online services such as WhatsApp and
> Skype
> > in a radical move that could force the internet-based service providers
> to
> > share data with the government.
> >
> > The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is in search of a consultant
> to
> > study and determine how the so-called over-the-top services (OTTS)
> operated
> > by groups such as Facebook, which runs WhatsApp, and Skype owner
> Microsoft,
> > could be regulated.
> >
> > Read on:
> >
> www.nation.co.ke/business/Telcos-regulator-seeks-to-monitor-WhatsApp/996-4833020-fn9u7s/index.html
> <
> urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.nation.co.ke_business_Telcos-2Dregulator-2Dseeks-2Dto-2Dmonitor-2DWhatsApp_996-2D4833020-2Dfn9u7s_index.html&d=DwMFaQ&c=5VD0RTtNlTh3ycd41b3MUw&r=Arv…
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Best regards
> >
> >
> > Githaiga, Grace
> >
> >
> > Co-Convenor
> > Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet)
> > Twitter:@ggithaiga
> > Tel: 254722701495
> > Skype: gracegithaiga
> > Alternate email: ggithaiga@hotmail.com<mailto:ggithaiga@hotmail.com>
> > Linkedin:
> > www.linkedin.com/in/gracegithaiga<
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> >
> >
> > “Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and
> come
> > together to demand it. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to
> > bring about change – but in yours”—Barrack Obama.
> >
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> for
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> > sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and
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> >
> >
> > The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for
> > people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> > regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> > sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and
> > development.
> >
> > KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> > online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and
> bandwidth,
> > share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> > not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
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> >
> > The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for
> > people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> > regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> > sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and
> > development.
> >
> > KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> > online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and
> bandwidth,
> > share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> > not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
> >
>
>
> —
> Barrack O. Otieno
> +254721325277
> +254733206359
> Skype: barrack.otieno
> PGP ID: 0x2611D86A
>
> _______________________________________________
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> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
>

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