Mobile Cellphone Info has posted a new item, 'Police target Internet cafes in
war on cybercrime'
Cyber caf operators will soon be required to keep a register of all their
customers if a proposal by the Police Department aimed at arresting crimes
perpetrated through mobile phones and the Internet is adopted.CID director
Ndegwa Muhoro said Parliament should enact a law that would compel cyber cafs to
adopt the know-your-customer rules already in place in the banking and mobile
phone sectors. "We are proposing to this committee to help us have a legal
framework that will compel all cyber shops log in their users with their
identity cards and time spent on the computers registered," he told members of
the parliamentary committee on education, which is investigating the
cancellation of examination results for nearly 1,700 Form Four candidates from
North Eastern Province. Mr Muhoro said cyber cafes remained a missing link in
recent efforts aimed at containing crime by tracking Internet use to a
particular computer. "It is difficult to pin down criminals who use cyber cafe
computers at any given time unless they are logged in," he said, adding that
most of the cheating during last year's examinations involved SMS on mobile
phones and e-mails. Although a conviction had been secured on a criminal who
used SMSs to leak the exams, he said failure to operationalise a law requiring
all mobile phone SIM card holders to register with the Communications Commission
of Kenya was posing a threat to national security.
President Kibaki last year ordered that all unregistered mobile phone SIM cards
be switched off to rein in crime, but there was no legal basis to back up the
directive. "To safeguard the lives of many Kenyans using mobile phones, I once
more direct the Ministry of Information and Communications to ensure that there
is no phone number in use that is not registered," Mr Kibaki had said.
The Communications Commission of Kenya Amendment Act, 2011, eventually addressed
this loophole, but is yet to be operationalised.
Out of an estimated 28 million mobile phone users, three million are yet to
register with their service providers: Safaricom, Airtel, yu and Telkom Orange.
Mr Muhoro Tuesday called for the quick operationalisation of the law to protect
Kenyans from crimes associated with new technology. "We have hit a brick wall
many times where users of mobile phones are not registered or computers they
used to commit crimes are in cyber cafes," he said, adding that the CID cannot
block the mobile phones without attracting litigation. The department has also
recommended the setting up of secure examination storage centres with only
supervisors having the keys to the vaults, which would be guarded by policemen,
to curb examination fraud.
"This will certainly reduce cases of collusion between any unfaithful police
officer and examinations supervisors or invigilator," Police Commissioner Mathew
According to him, no irregularities were detected when the method was piloted
last year using containers. He said 41 containers were used as storage centres
in Coast, Eastern, Nairobi, Nyanza and Western provinces. The pilot by KNEC,
however, did not cover North Eastern, Rift Valley and Central provinces.
The police also recommend that results should be released after the conclusion
of investigations on irregularities, vetting of invigilators and supervisors and
deterrent actions on offenders.
Mr Muhoro said all persons involved in examinations right from the setting and
printing must be vetted by the CID and other security agencies.
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