Uhuru ignores critics to sign new cybercrime regulations

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".

The Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act is aimed at punishing cyber fraud and illegal hacking.

Some of the offences in the Act include the use of a computer the "unauthorised interference, unauthorised interception, unauthorised disclosure of passwords, cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, cyber terrorism and wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images".

The law also authorises stiff penalties for producers and those sharing of child pornography.

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

The National Security Council chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta was instrumental in crafting the Bill to provide a legal framework for dealing with crimes online crimes.

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

Punishment for this can be a fine of $50 000 or up to two years in prison, or both.

According to Kenyatta, the Act establishes the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee and facilitates global cooperation in dealing with computer and cybercrime 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.

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.

New York-based media rights watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) warned that the bill could criminalize free speech, "with journalists and bloggers likely to be among the first victims if it is signed into law".

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