Big Data and Microfinance in Kenya: Privacy Concerns in Alternative Credit Scoring Models

By Mercy King’ori**

The era of digitisation has ushered in the development of many new technologies that have improved the way in which business is undertaken. One such improvement is in the area of data. Data-driven companies are likely to be the most competitive in this current era. This has attracted efforts from the government and private sector in collecting and sharing data from various sectors. There is a lot of personally identifiable information that is collected and archived in data stores; all of which is taking place in a regulatory environment devoid of a national data protection law.

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Renewing the Call for a National Intellectual Property Strategy in Kenya

In a recent article by Dr Isaac Rutenberg and yours truly published in the Journal of Culture, Arts and Performance (JAHAZI) here we look at Kenya’s long journey towards a national intellectual property (IP) policy and strategy. It is argued that such a policy and strategy must be aligned with development priorities and socio-economic realities of Kenya and her people. The journey begins in 2005 when World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) commissioned an IP audit in Kenya to assess the prevailing situation of the IP system in Kenya making findings on strengths and weaknesses that would be used to develop a national intellectual property policy and strategy. Although the final audit report was prepared and submitted by WIPO to the Kenya government in 2006, the formulation of a national IP policy and strategy has never been formally completed with the last known attempts dating back five years.

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New CIPIT Research: An Assessment of the Evolution of Kenya’s ICT Law and Policy Framework

An article by CIPIT researchers Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Douglas Gichuki and Arthur Gwagwa titled: “Historical Antecedents and Paradoxes that Shaped Kenya’s Contemporary Information and Communication Technology Policies” has recently been published in the Harvard Africa Policy Journal available here. In the article, the authors retrace Kenya’s 5 decade long journey from independence to its present ‘Silicon Savannah’ status. Through an analysis of legislative and policy reforms in the area of information and communication technology (ICT), the authors argue that although Kenya has come a long way in introducing liberal market reforms that have immensely benefited the technology sector, policy challenges remain. In particular, the authors note as signs of relapse the passing of certain laws and introduced measures that restrict civil liberties, ostensibly as anti-terrorism measures, as well as to diffuse ethnic tensions.

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“Making” Knowledge for Innovation and Development: Researching Kenyan Makerspaces

Kenya’s vibrant technology sector is known for its innovations in software. The successes of M-PESA, a widely used mobile money transfer platform, and Ushahidi, a global crowdsourcing mapping app, has drawn international attention to the Kenyan startup scene. Supporting the startup scene are a number of tech hubs, incubators, and accelerators.

Software, however, can only be as innovative as the hardware it runs on. A growing network of makerspaces are training Kenyan innovators in the knowledge and skills to manufacture disruptive hardware solutions. What is the story of makerspaces in Kenya? What supports are available for hardware-based innovators? How effective are these makerspaces at promoting innovation? What methods are innovators using to share and protect their ideas?

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Communications Authority on the Spot over Network Facilities Provider License to Jamii Telecom

By Charles Opiyo**

Recently, one of the local dailies had the following headline emblazoned upon it, “Tycoon gifted Sh5bn mobile phone license…” This story related to Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) granting a Network Facilities Provider Tier 1 License to Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL). The holder of this license is permitted to build and commercially operate telecommunication/electronic communications systems. According to media reports however, the amount paid by JTL was well below the full value of the license (stated by the press to be 5 billion Kenya Shillings). The media report goes on to relate that the amount that JTL paid was only 100,000 Kenya Shillings.

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Streamlining Public Transport in Kenya: A Commentary

by Wendy Muchai**

The introduction of an e-payment system for the public service vehicles (PSVs) in the transport sector has been an idea embraced by some, for reasons that implementation of such a system could greatly help regulate the matatu industry, including eliminating corruption and facilitating collection of taxes. However, others have been opposed to a cashless system for reasons such as loss of income to matatu crews since no e-ticketing system would be able to take into consideration the informal and ad-hoc revenue-share arrangements between the PSV owners and their crews.

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Copyright Board Obtains Court Order Stopping Music Society from Collecting Royalties

In earlier posts here and here, we explained how Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) appears to be engaged in an all-out war against Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE). Readers will recall that early this year KECOBO declined to renew MCSK’s registration as a collecting society and instead decided to register MPAKE as a collecting society, presumably in the place of MCSK. Since then, MCSK has obtained several court orders (the latest coming from the High Court in Kakamega dated 5th April 2017) to enable it to continue its operations as a collecting society. In the latest turn of events, KECOBO has now obtained two court orders dated 31st May 2017 (pictured above) barring MCSK from collecting royalties from the public as well as publishing any information insinuating that it is duly licensed as a collecting society for the year 2017 pending hearing of the suit.

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Collecting Society Wants Copyright Board Directors Jailed for Alleged Contempt of Court

In a recent newspaper advert, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) published a Court Order and a public notice (as pictured above). According to the Court Order dated 25th May 2017, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) is restrained from interfering further with MCSK’s collection of royalties. In addition, KECOBO is restrained from issuing press statements and commenting on matters that are substantially and directly in issue in the court case. Most notably, the Order contains a notice to show cause why Contempt of Court proceedings should not be commenced against the entire Board of Directors of KECOBO.

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Towards Intellectual Property Securitisation in Kenya: Movable Property Security Rights Act Passed

In an earlier post here, a fellow blogger opined that the Movable Property Security Rights Bill, 2016 would herald a new dawn of intellectual property (IP) financing in Kenya. The purpose of the Bill was to provide for the use of movable property as collateral for credit facilities and to establish a collateral registry to facilitate registration of interests in movable property. The Bill was aimed at enabling Kenyans to use their IP rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks, certificates for industrial designs, certificates for utility models, and other related rights, to create security rights through which they can acquire credit facilities. This blogger is now pleased to report that the Bill has now been signed into law as Movable Property Security Rights Act, 2017.

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2017-2018 Tariffs for Collecting Societies Gazetted

The Attorney General has approved and gazetted new tariffs for collective management organisations (CMOs) in the music industry which will be valid from April 2017 to December 2018. According to Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), the new tariffs were set based on discussions with stakeholders and the CMOs which were moderated by KECOBO. It is important to note that KECOBO has encouraged the CMOs to collect royalties jointly meaning users will pay a single license fee to the three CMOs.

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