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Two arrested for providing illegal internet services in Kasarani

Two people have been arrested following a sting operation targeting illegal Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kasarani area in Nairobi County.

The two suspects are linked to Lime Fiber, were arrested after their premises were raided by anti-piracy agencies.

The operation, led by the Partners Against Piracy (PAP) Association of Kenya, with support from the Kenya Police Cybercrime and Crime Scene Forensic Units, confiscated several items believed to have been used in the trade.

The operation resulted in the seizure of tools employed in the unlawful activities, which encompassed 5 mobile phones, 2 VOIP headsets, 3 CPUs, 12 hard drives, 1 laptop, 4 internet switches and 1 optical line terminal.

“This intervention has disrupted the illegal services provided to approximately 3,000 subscribers in the Kasarani-Mwiki- Santon areas, who were illegally accessing premium content, such as English Premier League (EPL), WWC and La Liga live sports through the WeCast App,” PAP said in a statement to newsrooms.

“The investigations revealed that the WeCast App is installed on the client’s mobile phone or digital television upon subscription to Lime Fiber internet, where login details are provided by the perpetrators.”

PAP added that such illegal activity robs rightful owners of their deserved income and affects the overall investment in producing quality content.

“This illicit activity deprives rightful owners of their due revenue, and impacts the overall investment in quality content creation,” it said.

“Additionally, it creates unfair competition for other ISPs, Video On Demand services and Broadcasters, operating within the legal framework, by adhering to copyright laws and ethical business practices, as well as paying taxes.”

The suspects, who are accused of breaching Section 36 (6) of the Copyright Act, now face a fine of a maximum of Sh800,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

According to PAP Chairman Mike Strano, producing African content for African audiences’ stops being profitable or worthwhile, and piracy continues production stops. He said that the creative industries of Kenya and Africa will be the biggest losers.

“If piracy succeeds, consumers will be reduced to making do with poor quality entertainment, old content, and content that does not fulfill the needs of their community or their culture,” said Strano.

In a December 2021 Report, PAP estimates that piracy costs the country’s Creative Economy approximately Shh92 billion annually, or Sh252 million daily, in gross losses. The report reveals, for instance, that piracy deprives the music industry of Sh15 billion and TV stations of Sh8 billion annually.

An Irdeto survey has indicated that Piracy is gaining traction, with users in five major African territories, including Kenya, making 17.4 million visits to the top 10 identified piracy sites on the internet in three months.

PAP is a multi-stakeholder coalition of like-minded organizations within the creative industry keen to eliminate piracy, and the threat it poses to livelihoods, society, and personal security.