The Federal Government of Somalia in collaboration with the owner of the fiber-optic cable has successfully restored Internet and data services to South and Central Somalia.
The loss of Internet and data services for nearly three weeks caused considerable economic damage to many sectors of the Somali economic, such as commerce, education, healthcare, and the delivery of Government services.
During a press conference, officials at the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Technology put enormous focus and spared no efforts in trying to minimize the damage to the nation’s economy by assisting the owner of the fiber-optic cable to expedite the restoration of the services and by providing permits and security protection to the repair ship
Recognizing the enormity of the negative economic impact this incident had on the country’s economy and public services, the Ministry is committed to work with all public and private stakeholders to ensure an outage of this magnitude and length does not occur again. The following measures are needed to prevent similar future incidents:
There is greater need than ever for the Parliament to pass the National Communication Law that has been submitted to the Parliament on 10 July 2017 after the Cabinet approved it on 22 June 2017. The Law would have protected the interests of consumers, telecommunication companies, other companies as well as the public sector who would have clear legal recourse through the Law to recover damages and/or levy fines on telecommunication companies who didn’t meet their legal commitment.
The Telecommunication companies providing undersea infrastructure are required to work with the relevant Government agencies to prevent ships docking at the Mogadishu port from damaging this vital infrastructure.
Telecommunication service providers will be required to provide backup and failover methods for their services to minimize the impact of outages.
The Government will promote and encourages investors to invest in other cable systems. This unfortunate outage clearly demonstrated how the pervasiveness of usage and the critical nature of the Internet for the country’s economic and social life.
The Ministry is working on a national communication and information technologies policy in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. This policy will ensure that every citizen would get basic Internet and telecommunication services with adequate speed and affordable cost.
The ministry thanked the Somali people for their understanding and patience during this difficult period and hope that if the aforementioned steps were taken similar incidents would not occur again.
Somalia’s new telecom regulator takes control of top-level domain
MOGADISHU, March 9 (Xinhua) — Somalia’s newly established telecom regulator on Friday took full control of the country’s top-level internet domain (dotSO).
The National Communications Authority (NCA) took control of the domain from the Somali National Information Center (SONIC) and Cloudy Registry, who ran the operations and the management of the domain Registry.
“Effective immediately SONIC will become a functional unit within the NCA and its technical operations personnel will report to the NCA management,” the minister of Posts and Telecommunication Technology Abdi Ashur Hassan said in a statement.
“This is an important milestone for the ICT industry in Somalia and another achievement for the ministry on the heels of the passage of the Communication Law and the establishment of the regulatory authority,” he added.
The NCA has inked a deal with Cloud Registry, which provides registry and hosting services to the DotSO Domain. The agreement establishes a contractual relationship between the NCA and Cloud Registry.
“DotSO is a national asset and the 2017 Communication Law charges the NCA with its stewardship,” Abdi Sheik Ahmed, NCA general manager, said, adding that the domain will be managed in the interest of the public and the internet community.
Swish for Migrants’ One of Sweden’s ‘Fastest-Growing Companies’
So far, SEK 200 million ($24 million) has been transferred abroad using the Transfer Galaxy service, but soon it could be a matter of billions.
SPUTNIK — Transfer Galaxy, a company founded by Somali immigrants for cheap and handy money transfers is expanding rapidly and has acquired SEK 30 million ($3.6 million) in venture capital, the Dagens Industri economic daily reported.
The company was founded by Somalis Yosef Mohamed and Khalid Qassim in the migrant-dense Vivalla district in the city of Örebro, which is present on the police list of blighted areas as “extremely vulnerable.”
Before Transfer Galaxy arrived, Somali immigrants had to avail themselves of a local representative’s services for money transfers, which spurred the entrepreneurial duo into creating “Swish for migrants” as a cheap alternative.
“Send money to your loved ones,” the front page of the service’s website says.
The aim of the $3.6 million support from the company Backing Minds and the Alfvén & Didrikson investment company will allow it to grow internationally. Earlier, the company grew by customers recommending the service to others, now extra staff will be employed to speed up the growth.
According to Susanne Najafi, one of the founders of Backing Minds, Transfer Galaxy is one of the fastest-growing companies in Sweden.
“I believe this company will be valued at over one billion kronor in the future,” Najafi told Dagens Industri, pointing out that the company is growing by a double-digit percentage each month.
The company was started in 2015 and subsequently grew to attract 600 loyal customers. Since then, the company has grown considerably and after acquiring a license from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, helped its customers from 25 European nations to send almost SEK 200 million ($24 million) abroad via mobile or computer.
“We want to become a global company and Vivalla’s largest employer,” Transfer Galaxy CEO Yosef Mohamed told Dagens Industri.
At present, unemployment in Vivalla is three times higher than in the rest of Orebro.
According to Transfer Galaxy, $605 billion is being sent to immigrants’ home countries every year internationally. Therefore, the company aims to specifically address those two billion people in the world who do not have access to a regular bank.
“For example, in Somalia, the founders’ home country, 73 percent use mobile money, compared with only 15 percent of the population who use a traditional bank,” the company wrote in a press-release.
How the U.S. is using terrorists’ smartphones and laptops to defeat them
USA TODAY — Smartphones helped terror organizations grow and communicate. Now the devices are contributing to their downfall.
In a nondescript, highly secured building in this Washington suburb, a group of U.S. government technicians and linguists are downloading massive amounts of data from phones, hard drives, CDs and other devices, providing a huge boost to the U.S. intelligence community as it hunts terrorists.
Many of the devices have been captured from battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State has lost virtually all the territory it captured in 2014.
“This is the future,” Kolleen Yacoub, director of the National Media Exploitation Center, told USA TODAY in a rare interview at the center’s headquarters.
It was the first time the center, which also supports law enforcement and other agencies, has allowed a journalist into the facility, providing insight into a critical but little known part of the intelligence community.
The center grew from a handful of employees when it was established in 2003 to about 700 today, including offices overseas. It has about 100 linguists.
“The ability to exploit captured electronic hardware is a great capability that we have adopted and expanded and improved tremendously over the past 15 years,” said Jim Howcroft, a retired Marine intelligence officer and director of the terrorism program at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.
The center in Maryland, managed by the Defense Intelligence Agency, reviews paper documents as well as electronic items.
But it is the proliferation of laptops and cellphones that has fueled the growth in this type of intelligence gathering.
Smartphones hold massive amounts of information critical to intelligence analysts, including photos, telephone numbers, GPS data and Internet searches.
Users generally assume the device won’t be compromised and don’t take precautions to protect the data, Yacoub said.
“What they’re saving on their devices is ground truth,” Yacoub said. “We tend to treat our digital devices, our mobile devices … as personal items and we don’t lie to them.”
“The adversaries don’t lie to them either,” she said.
The data include videos and photos that help identify militants and their leaders.
Even when a device is damaged or information is deleted, the center’s technicians recover 60% to 80% of the data. “Deleted does not mean lost” is one of the center’s mottoes.
The amount of data coming into the center has skyrocketed in the past two years, Yacoub said, mainly because of the campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS.
The data analysis has been particularly helpful in giving intelligence analysts an unprecedented look at how the radical group operated in Iraq and Syria because of the ubiquity of smartphones and the meticulous way ISIS kept records in areas it controlled.
The data include tens of thousands of personnel records on foreign fighters and their families with dates of birth, aliases, phone numbers, jobs and other valuable intelligence.
“They have their own central government in a sense,” Yacoub said.
ISIS had departments that developed drone technology, chemical weapons, finance and propaganda operations. It also kept detailed records on the bureaucracy it created to provide services in areas it controlled.
Some of the terror leaders have been captured fleeing the battlefield with reams of information in the hopes that they can use it to keep the group active or to regroup after the loss of territory.
“If you’re committed to sustaining this organization and you’re going to take your show on the road … then you’re taking everything you can with you,” Marine Brig. Gen. James Glynn, deputy commanding general of the Special Operations Joint Task Force, said in an interview from Baghdad.
The intelligence is helping analysts map out how the Islamic State may try to evolve.
“If you don’t have a clear understanding of how ISIS is operating today, I don’t think you can really understand where they are going to next,” said Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threat Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are not going to disappear.”