Motion on regulation of mobile phones tabled
Written By:Graham Kirwa , Posted: Wed, May 14, 2008
The government will monitor all mobile phone communications if a motion seeking to have mobile phones holders register their particulars with the mobile service providers.
The Motion tabled by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo is seeking to have a law that will compel all mobile phone providers to have a data base that will monitor the flow of information through the cell phones.
Kilonzo said currently the country has over 11. 4 million mobile phones users with Safaricom leading with 9.2 million subscribers while Celtel has 2.1 which calls for a law to monitor the information taking place among this huge number of Kenyans.
He said the post election violence should be a wake up call on Kenya to relock into the use of mobile phone and more so the use of the Short Text Messages, SMS.
He claimed that the SMS played a critical role in propagating the violence yet the originators of such information could not be traced due to a weakness in legislation and lack of their identification.
The ODM Kenya legislator gave examples of countries like Singapore and Sudan which have taken a cue in registering mobile phone holders.
He said conmen were now exploiting the SMS service by bombarding Kenyans with false information that they had won millions and what was required of them was to send air time to reclaim their prizes.
Kilonzo said SMS had become a tool of perpetrating crime and robberies yet no information can be found about the culprits.
Kilonzo said once a law is in place it would be easier for the government and the Communication Commission of Kenya to keep track of the service providers and the actual profits they make using the available data for the purpose of taxation rather relying on the information provided by the companies which he said might be at times misleading.
The Yatta MP said the monitoring of information should not however intrude in the personal privacy and information gathered should be confidential, only retrieved when requested by state agencies.
The motion was seconded by Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro and Garsen MP Danson Mungatana who said a total of 10 million SMS are being sent daily translating into 4 billion annually yet the flow of such information is not regulated.
He said 1,700 individuals were found to have sent hate messages just after the December elections yet the ministry of Information could not do anything citing lack of legislation to put the culprits behind bars.
Others who supported the motion were Muhoroni MP Ayecho Olweny. Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama, Mandera East MP Hussein Ali, nominated MP Sofia Abdi Noor and Ndia MP Robinson Githae.
Debate on the motion is set to continue.