Prof. Bitange Ndemo, University of Nairobi lecturer and former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology.
Pressure is mounting on the Government to make all data accessible to the public, even as it plans to store all public data online.
In the latest clarion call by online data storage (cloud ) service providers, the State has been asked to also ensure that data storage is delocalised, as opposed to (the much recent Government policy of) restricting storage within the bounds of the country’s servers.
The reaction comes following the conclusion of a two-day seminar on cloud computing bringing together cloud technology experts across East Africa in a first ever “Cloud Summit” organised in Nairobi between Thursday and Friday to chart the way for stakeholders to move all data online for the overall progress of the region.
In a keynote speech delivered at the conference on Thursday by Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director General Francis Wangusi, he noted that even as the State was putting in place all the necessary measures to store all its data online for easy access and sharing, it was largely for the nation’s best interests if all its data was stored in local servers rather than offshore.
“All in all, all public information about Kenya must be kept locally as there will also be local laws efficient enough to solve all cloud issues,” he said.
“Not forgetting that the vision of the State is best for business, in that it will promote market for local cloud service vendors,” added the Director General.
However, that view died not sit well with meeting stakeholders who asked the Government to consider policies that look beyond this country in terms of data access and storage, if it has to grow all sectors of the economy to commendable standards.
” If we begin to put unnecessary boundaries on data, it will not help us as a country,” said Professor Bitange Ndemo, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information , Communications and Technology.
Other participants of the first East Africa Cloud Summit hosted by C4DLab between April 21 and 22, 2016 .
Prof Ndemo further said the State has to pave way for citizens to put data in various storage centers available even outside the country .
“Cloud computing allows us to do things much more differently, but we don’t have as a country the capacity to harness and store all our data locally,”he said.
“Therefore the Government, through its policies, must provide a way for Kenyans to store and harness the massive amount of data that is accumulating by the minute to their advantage, a factor that is largely possible if data can even be stored offshore, ” Ndemo said.