Abuse of Persons on social media could land you in jail as President Uhuru assents to Cybercrimes Bill

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,16TH MAY 2017-Spreading of  fake  or unverified information on social media or electronic platforms could land you in jail after  President Uhuru Kenyatta  assented to Cybercrimes Bill  which makes such acts criminal.

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018, will now form  a basis for  the National Government 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.”

The  Committee   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.”It  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 .The act also also 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.

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 are also covered.

Publishing of false or fictitious information will attract a Sh5 million fine or a two-year jail term accordingto clause 12 of the Act.

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.

Even 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.

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