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Bill proposes Sh20mn fine for spewing hatred

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The Bill, according to Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru, will provide effective policing tools to allow extraction, collection and analysis of digital evidence, the scope of warrants and preservation of evidence among other measures/FILE

The Bill, according to Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru, will provide effective policing tools to allow extraction, collection and analysis of digital evidence, the scope of warrants and preservation of evidence among other measures/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – People who spew hatred risk either being fined Sh20 million or face 10 year in jail, if the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2016 is enacted to law.

The Bill, according to Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru, will provide effective policing tools to allow extraction, collection and analysis of digital evidence, the scope of warrants and preservation of evidence among other measures.

“Proportionality in sentencing has been taken into consideration in line with human rights best practices under the Bill. For example, whereas in other East African countries such as Uganda, the sentence provided for offences involving protected computer systems is life imprisonment,” he pointed out.

“The corresponding offences under the Bill carry a penalty of Sh20 million or a 10 year imprisonment term or both.”

The Bill is set to seal loopholes in the current legal measures that have left the country prone to Cybercrime, posed from both local and international culprits.

An incident at hand is the recent nefarious activities of Chinese nationals in Runda Estate within Nairobi County and hacking of government websites which could pose a threat to the national security.

In the April 8 incident 41 foreigners were caught in the process of setting up a sophisticated communication centre in a house within the estate.

Nine were women and 32 men, with 22 of them being Chinese and 19 Taiwanese.

Security officers led by the Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro raided the house, where they recovered communication equipment among them 14 laptops and eight mobile phones among other gadgets.

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In 2014, a cyber command centre, with ability of disrupting communication systems in the country was found within the same estate.

More than 70 Chinese were arrested after a fire broke out in their rented house, killing one of them.

The Chinese nationals were accused of running a hacking operation and mysterious command centre.

Police had gone to the house to investigate the fire incident when they found the group bundled in one of the rooms that had the communication gadgets.

Thirty seven of those arrested were later released by court for lack of evidence.

It is with such incidents, that Mucheru laments that they could lead to curtailing of crucial access to information freedoms as well hinder the delivery of public services.

The draft law details a wide range of stringent measures to also curb other crimes such as child abuse, identity theft, child pornography, online fraud, radicalization, money-laundering and hate speech.

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