Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Bloggers in panic as Uhuru signs Cyber Crimes law

Bloggers in panic as Uhuru signs Cyber Crimes law

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a new law on Wednesday that outlaws the abuse of people on social media but which critics say could be exploited to repress civil liberties.

He has assented into law Cyber Crime Bill.

Sharing fake news and initiating hate speech will now attract a fine of 5 million shillings or a 2 year imprisonment, while sharing pornographic material will attract a fine of 300,000 shillings or a 30 year imprisonment.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in a past event.

It deals with offences relating to computer systems including but not limited to unauthorized access, unauthorized interference, unauthorized interception, unauthorized disclosure of passwords, cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, cyber terrorism and wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images.

Similarly, sharing pornography through the various electronic means will attract a maximum of Sh300,000 or 10 years in prison, or both if convicted.

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Previous attempts to impose some control on social media users were met with accusations that the government was out to limit free speech.

The Act also deals with computer forgery, computer fraud, cyber harassment, publication of false information, cybersquatting, identity theft and impersonation, phishing, interception of electronic messages or money transfers, willful misdirection of electronic messages and fraudulent use of electronic data among other cyber crimes.

The objective of the Bill is to "protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, programs and data", "prevent the unlawful use of computer systems", "facilitate the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes", and "facilitate global co-operation on matters".

Ahead of the signing, there were numerous petitions from the public, civic society groups and the media against some of the provisions in the Bill.

The Bills were presented to the President for signing by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Kenyatta not to sign into law a cybercrimes warning that It will it will stifle press freedom.

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