Uhuru signs controversial bill into law

Kenyatta signs controversial cybercrime bill

Just hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Computer and Cyber crimes Bill, 2017, Avril (real name Judith Nyambura Mwangi) posted on Instagram a picture of the fines and jail terms those found guilty of the offence will be liable to with the caption: "Just so you know".

Also targeted by the new law are WhatsApp group administrators who allow sharing of fake news or information meant to incite ethnic hatred.

"It has a very good Bill and the public should be aware about the penalties because going forward it will not be business as usual", said Duale on Wednesday at Parliament buildings.

Consequently, anyone that publishes false information online will be arrested and tried before the courts of law.

The new law has made allowances to mitigate this with hackers facing a fine of Sh5 million shillings or a three-year jail term or both for unauthorised access, interference, interception, and disclosure of passwords and cyber espionage.

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

It 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. This Bill amends various provisions of the Public Trustee Act, bringing it into conformity with the Constitution.

Through his Twitter handle, Statehouse spokesman, Manoah Esipisu announced the signing of the Bill by the President into law yesterday, sparking online uproar among media stakeholders.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto, Aden Duale and others at State House on May, 16, 2018.

Similarly, Article 19, a global free speech organisation, and Committee to the Protect Journalists (CPJ) have expressed reservations with the hefty fines and lengthy imprisonment periods prescribed by the law.

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