KENYA: Unregistered sim cards will be switch-off by April 15 – Chiloba

Mobile phone consumers who do not register their details with their respective telecommunication service providers by April 15 will be disconnected, according to Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA).

The measure, according to Director General Ezra Chiloba, is intended to enforce the 2015 SIM card registration requirements, which are targeted at preventing cybercrime and fraud in the digital arena.

The Communication Authority would not extend the current SIM card registration deadline, according to Chiloba, who urged unregistered mobile subscribers to do so in the days ahead.

He urged all mobile network operators to expedite the data cleanup process and stated that no more time will be added once the grace period has expired, emphasizing that unregistered sim cards pose a security risk.

“There will be no extension,” he stated, “so those who are still dragging their feet should face reality and register with their individual telecom service providers or risk permanent deactivation.”

The CA DG stated that after April 15, no unregistered SIM cards would be available from any of the telcom service providers in operation.

“By the end of April, we intend to have cleaned up all the networks by deactivating all unregistered and illegally registered SIM cards,” Chiloba stated.

He stated that Kenya will join other governments across the world that have developed similar regulations and collected biometric data through a telecom company registration process in order to improve cybersecurity.

During this year’s annual Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Kenya chapter conference, Chiloba addressed to the media at the Pride Inn Paradise Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa.

ISACA is a non-profit worldwide organization dedicated to information technology governance that promotes the creation, acceptance, and usage of globally recognized information systems.

The three-day annual conference of the ISACA Kenya branch has begun in Mombasa, with the subject ‘Renew and re-imagine, tech, innovation, and resilience.’

The necessary registration, according to Chiloba, is in response to an increase in mobile phone fraud in the country.

He requested that parents do not register their credentials on the SIM cards that their children over the age of 18 use.

“This will be an enhancement from the existing paradigm,” he explained, “in which parents use their credentials to register SIM cards that their children use.”

He claimed that in the past, the country’s data systems remained non-digitized due to insufficient information and communication infrastructure, but that this is no longer the case now that the digital divide is shrinking.

“It means that criminals and even terrorists can use unregistered SIM cards to remain anonymous and avoid discovery by authorities,” he added, adding that registration will benefit security services in crime tracking and prevention.

Antony Muiyuro, President of ISACA Kenya Chapter, stated that a forum bringing together ICT experts will look into ways to improve the country’s cyber security sector and foster information sharing among corporate entities.

While cyberspace offers immense social, economic, and other benefits, it also poses threats such as computer-related fraud and forgeries, according to Muiyuro.

He said that cybercrime and computer-related crimes were on the rise, stating that, despite fast technological progress, such practices continue to affect financial institutions and corporate enterprises.

The head of the ISACA Kenya branch emphasized the need of identifying emerging dangers, trends, and monitoring cyber fraudsters online in order to bring them to court.

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