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Kenya says new system to fight counterfeit phones, not to monitor users

NAIROBI, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's plan to employ a device managing system is to step up war on counterfeit mobile phones but not to spy on subscribers, the country's communication regulator said Friday.


Communication Authority of Kenya Director General Francis Wangusi told journalists that there is increased proliferation of counterfeits in the mobile handset market.

"The use of counterfeit devices poses a great security threat, because such devices do not provide for effective identification or traceability of network transactions and users," Wangusi said.

"We have therefore purchased a device management system (DMS) that will detect counterfeits that are operating in the mobile system," he said. Kenya has planned to have the 2-million-U.S.-dollar DMS operational by end of June.

Wangusi said contrary to what was published by the local media, the system does not access a subscriber's personal information.

He said the accusations levelled against the industry regulator are a "total and complete white lie," adding that the system is being implemented in close consultation with mobile operators and consumer protection organizations.

Wangusi lashed out at mobile operators for misleading the public.

"To tell us that we are installing this device for accessing confidential data, is a total white lie. Releasing this information is intended to mislead the public," he said.

Wangusi said they have been into consultations with the mobile operators and the stakeholders since last year and nobody made such complaints.

The director general said that the acquisition of the management system is the second phase of an initial initiative that saw mobile network operators switch off all counterfeit mobile devices in Kenya in 2010.

The system will blacklist all mobile phones that are counterfeit, substandard or stolen from the mobile network, as the director general accusing the substandard devices of exposing consumers to health risks.

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