4 Reasons Why CCK’s Plan To Enforce Local Web Site Hosting Is Impractical
I was in a shock yesterday when I read an article in the Business Daily that stated that the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) plans to ensure that ALL Kenyan web sites are hosted locally instead of internationally as is often the case. More specifically, as extracted from the Business Daily article, this is what was stated:
The Communications Commission of Kenya has proposed a licensing condition that may compel Internet service providers (ISPs) to bring websites hosted offshore back to the country in the fight against cyber crime.
The regulator says it will license a new body next year to issue and manage local Internet addresses and make it mandatory for firms to host their websites in Kenya.
Now, I am not sure if this article is 100% accurate or whether the CCK Director General Francis Wangusi may have been quoted out of context but if this actually happens it would suggest that the CCK will be taking major liberties with privacy, freedoms and civil liberties in the name of security. However, off the cuff, below are four reasons why I think it would be impractical for the CCK to enforce local web site hosting in Kenya:
- It is considerably (much) less expensive to host web sites outside Kenya – This is probably the number one reason that ISPs and web agencies host their clients web sites outside of Kenya. Over the years, I have explored the possibility of hosting web sites in Kenya either on shared services or dedicated servers and the bottom-line is that it is and has always been much more expensive. Therefore, on this basis alone, is CCK suggesting that organizations large and small start paying more for services that they can adequately source globally for much less? What happens if these costs could be as high as five times more than hosting your web site internationally? That does not make business sense. Unless the price issue can be addressed most will NOT will consider hosting locally.
- Web site hosting in Kenya (still) has serious security and quality of service issues – I have had the benefit of handling many web sites for clients who for one reason or another have opted to host their sites in Kenya for over 15 years. In my experience, I have seen many instances of web sites that are being hosted locally being hacked due to weak security measures, poor bandwidth as well as being slow to access due to outdated and overloaded web servers being used. Surprisingly, in many cases, this has happened with Government web sites which has widely been reported in the media when they are hacked and defaced. Its quite sad to be honest.
- Web site hosting in Kenya is work-in-progress – One of the other things I have noticed in Kenya where web site hosting is concerned is that in many cases the services on offer are not really world-class. This means that we are not (yet?) achieving the same high quality locally you would normally get internationally. This is often due to the fact that local service providers do not have the massive resources that International providers do to really deliver a comparable offering cost-effectively. Therefore, on this basis alone, would the CCK be saying that its better to use a lower quality web hosting service at a higher price rather than a higher quality service at a lower price? This does NOT make business sense whichever way you look at it.
- It will be really really hard if not impossible for the CCK to police web site hosting services in Kenya – The only country I know of that has to some degree largely managed to police and ‘own’ the Internet (locally) is China. China does not allow access to Facebook or Google for instance since they opted to NOT to follow Chinese laws that require their Government to be able to monitor Internet use on their services to the extent that it violates human rights. The CCK would have to block web sites like China does. The CCK would also probably ensure that .KE domain names have to be hosted locally (which they can actually do as they are in charge of KENIC) which could lead to organizations and indviduals dumping .KE domain names in favour of international domain names. The overall effect would not be good for the country. However, probably most importantly, people will manage to find workarounds – they always do, even in China.