Cyber bullies, fake news architects on notice as Bill signed

May 16, 2018 (2 weeks ago) 10:52 am
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Though the Act has stirred mixed reactions from various stakeholders more so journalists and bloggers, the government says it is meant to remove a legal lacuna/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented to Cybercrimes Bill, which criminalizes abuse of persons on social media.

Though the Act has stirred mixed reactions from various stakeholders, more so journalists and bloggers, the government says it is meant to remove legal lacuna.

Through the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018, the National Government is going to establish a National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee.

The committee, according to the Act, “shall report to the Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to internal security and, have key functions.”

– Functions of the Committee –

It will be tasked with advising the government on security-related aspects, “touching on matters relating to blockchain technology, critical infrastructure, mobile money and trust accounts.”

The committee will also advise the National Security Council on computer and cybercrimes.

It will also be required to develop a framework to facilitate “the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of critical national information infrastructure including telecommunications and information systems of Kenya.”

It will also coordinate collection and analysis of cyber threats and response to cyber incidents that threaten cyberspace of the country.

Its scope will the inside and outside the country.

– Offences provided in the Act –

The Act provides for offences relating to computer systems such as unauthorized access, unauthorized disclosure of passwords, cyber espionage, publication of false information, child pornography among others.

It will also cover areas of computer forgery, computer fraud, cyber harassment, cybersquatting, cyber harassment, identity theft and impersonation, phishing, interception of electronic messages or money transfers, wilful misdirection of electronic messages, cyber terrorism and wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate image, and fraudulent use of electronic data.

According to clause 12 of the Act, publishing of false or fictitious information will attract a Sh5 million fine or a two-year jail term.

Sharing pornographic content, through various electronic means will attract a maximum fine of Sh300,000 or 30 years in prison or both if proven.

Those found guilty of spreading child pornography face a fine of Sh20 million or 25 years in prison or both.

Cyber terrorism, according to the law attracts a maximum of Sh5 million in fines or 10 years in prison or both.

According to the government, the Act contains provisions that will facilitate international co-operation in dealing with computer and cybercrime matters including expedited disclosure of preserved traffic data.

The cooperation will also extend to mutual assistance among authorities regarding access of stored computer data, trans-border access to computer data, mutual assistance in the real-time collection of traffic data and mutual assistance in matters relating to the interception of content data.

Various countries across the world are adopting strenuous to curb cybercrime and more so the menaces of fake news, but concerns have been raised since they have a potential of curtailing human rights.

Malaysia has since passed the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 in April, making both creating and sharing fake news punishable by up to six years in prison.

Already, one Malaysian has been convicted under the new law.

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