CA Proposes the Establishment of System to Stop Proliferation of Counterfeit and Stolen Devices

CA DG Ezra Chiloba

Kenya ICT regulator the Communications Authority (CA) has invited the public, among other stakeholders, to review the proposed Guidelines for Addressing Counterfeit, Stolen, and Illegal IT devices in the country.

The participation window elapses on Jan 27, 2022, so all members of the public are advised to share their input by then.

Comments should be sent to the CA through [email protected].

The proposed guidelines highlight ICT devices registration and approval, as well as what constitutes stolen or illegal devices.

The proposal further covers stakeholder obligations and data privacy issues.

All this has been done to ensure the protection of consumers and industry from the impact of counterfeit, stolen, and illegal ICT devices in the market, and meet effective deployment of a central equipment identity register (CEIR) for maintaining information on the eligibility of all mobile devices available in the country to identify legal and illegal device.

Device Registration and Verification

According to the proposal, the CA will deploy and maintain a device registration database containing the legally imported/acquired IMEI paired with the identification document of the vendor/distributor/owner, in a way to identify those devices that have accomplished a legal process of importation or acquisition locally or abroad.

At the same time, the CA will require all licensed vendors, local manufacturers, commercial importers, distributors, OEMs, and individuals importing ICT devices for use in Kenya to enter their device IMEI into the device registration database.

Then, the CA will verify that all submitted IMEIs in the device registration database conforms to the GSMA IMEI registry.

Lastly, the CA proposes that a user interface tool shall be available to the public, which will then be used to check the authenticity of their devices.

Stolen Devices

The CA is proposing that consumers should report stolen/lost devices to law enforcement agencies.

The consumer may also report the same through a platform provided by the CA. The National Electronic Single Window System will be used to store information of lost or stolen devices, with unique identifiers of the stolen/lost ICTs and the date of the incident.

To note, the CA, alongside the KenTrade, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), the Anti-counterfeit Agency (ACA), and other relevant government agencies will be tasked to establish the authenticity of imported devices at the point of entry and facilitate import and export of ICT devices through the single importation platform, the National Electronic Single Window System, also referred to as the KenyaTradeNet System.

To address the proliferation of fake and illegal ICT devices and manage the theft of such devices, the CA seeks to prescribe Standard Operating Procedures for implementation on technical, management, and operational matters in consultation with industry stakeholders.

The system will integrate with the global IMEI database.

The comprehensive guideline can be read here.