The Communications Authority of Kenya has proposed that parents provide the identity of minors who will be using smartphones in a new set of Child Online Protection and Safety Guidelines released for public debate.
“Mobile service providers in the development of age-verification mechanism ensure that All SIM cards that are to be used by children/minors shall be registered,” the guidelines say.
The safety guidelines will require Telcos, Internet service providers, and app developers to actually verify the age of all the users.
“Mobile phone subscribers are informed of the need to appropriately register their SIM cards and declare the intended subscribers of the SIM cards.”
The new listing proposes a registry for children using smartphones to enable the protection of minors against online vices such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and pornography. This will require parents and guardians to prove the children’s ages using a third-party service.
Currently, parents use their credentials to register SIM cards for their underage minors which the CA sees as a safety hazard.
The new guidelines propose that the registration of SIM cards be done under the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-cards) Regulations, 2015. The regulations also provide for a fine of Sh300,000 or a jail term of six months or both for the failure to register minors.