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Safaricom demands legal framework from Kibaki

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mwai_kibaki.jpgNairobi, (IT News Africa)-LISTED telecoms firm Safaricom has said the order given by President Mwai Kibaki for the registration of all mobile phone subscribers can only be achieved with the necessary legal framework in place.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph noted that while there was compelling logic for the registration of all mobile phone subscribers, legal and administrative challenges remain which regulators and operators needed to address.

” Safaricom is keen on helping the government implement the new directive but this must be done within the law and without infringing on our subscribers rights, including the right to privacy, as enshrined in its license obligations, an enabling law will certainly give us the much-needed legal muscle to extend this to our entire network.

“It would map out how these records are to be used and give us the legal right to ask our subscribers for their details. We are waiting for the Ministry of Information and Communication to issue specific modalities on how the directive will be implemented.

“Once these are issued, Safaricom will take leadership in assisting subscribers to comply. Safaricom undertakes to fully comply with the directive as soon as the process, that should include the necessary supporting legal guidelines on access to and preparation of the data bank have been put in place,” Joseph said.

He said that with legal framework in place, it will help in keeping subscriber information confidential as per license obligations, recording user data in outlets with no computers and ensuring those without identification papers are not disenfranchised from enjoying the benefits of mobile telephony.

Safaricom said it would support all efforts the government was undertaking to improve the security of citizens.

The company has continued to proactively assist law enforcement officers in the investigation of crimes committed or planned by outlaws abusing its network as long as the approach is “legal and proper”.

Safaricom will do all it can to ensure a databank is set up to assist in the fight against crime.

“We need to do this as a country. Safaricom already has over half of our subscriber base registered through our M-PESA and PostPay services and the popular Bonga loyalty scheme, for which registration is a standard requirement, registration would also give us an opportunity to better understand and serve our subscribers,” said Joseph.

“Registration is no panacea to our crime and it can never be surrogate to professional police investigations. As it stands, criminals will always steal phones and even identities of innocent people, but it is a necessary first step in helping us combat the recent upsurge in mobile-phone related crime.

“At the end of the day, crime is a societal problem whose conquest requires the concerted efforts of all. At Safaricom, we have always played our part and that will continue,” said Mr Joseph.

Safaricom is a total telecoms operator and the leader in its category in Kenya and the region, with a subscriber base of over 13 million.

By Brian Adero

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