Lack of Robust Data Protection Laws Still a Hindrance to Shaping Policies -Steve Chege

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Connected Kenya 2018
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The 2018 staging of Connected Kenya Summit is already live after the opening ceremony was officiated by ICT CS Joe Mucheru. The event, which should come to an end tomorrow, will address key ICT areas, including improving public service delivery by leveraging ICT services, as well as developing and upgrading the National ICT infrastructure, among other focus areas.

Speaking during the afternoon session, Safaricom’s Director for Corporate Affair Mr. Steve Chege discussed the telco’s practices in terms of big data for businesses and policy-making in food security and universal health care. According to the Director, the carrier continues to offer solutions that go beyond carrier services. While the majority of Kenyans associate the corporation with telecoms activities and M-PESA, Safaricom has always strived to make data at its disposal more useful beyond corporate needs.

“Our vast network allows us to have access to critical data. Safaricom’s total data volume is estimated at 5 to 6 petabytes, which is also a quarter the amount of data processed by Google in a day,” notes Mr. Chege.

However, the lack of robust data protection laws has restricted the potential of user data, such as attaching it to universal health care and food security. While that might be the case, Chege reported that Safaricom has managed to connect its customers, and even partnered with third parties to make health care available for the masses.

To leverage the potential of such data with the purpose of improving health care and food security, Safaricom envisions to shifts its focus from a reactive and product-based perspective to a customer-centric and data-driven company fit in the coming days.

The telco is also working with farmers by equipping their trade with smart sensors to monitor growth and augment farming methodologies.

Lastly, Chege noted that Safaricom has never shared data to third parties due to the aforementioned data protection shortcomings. However, it is collaborating with the ICT ministry and legislators that are pushing for the law to go live sometime in the future. Should that happen, then the telco will have a legal ground to share data in shaping policies that ensure food security and improved universal health care as defined in the Big Four Agenda.

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