President Uhuru Kenyatta early today signed the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill, 2017, which criminalises among other things the posting of fake news on social media.
The new law spells out harsh punishment to cybercriminals and the process of seeking reparation by victims of cybercrime.
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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 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,” said a statement on the government website.
The assent comes at the time when experts requested Kenyatta to return the bill to Parliament for further discussion to ensure the law would not interfere with the freedom of expression and media freedom.
Human rights activists have raised concerns about the law, stating that phrases such as ‘false information’ could be used to gag the media.