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Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, 2018 Uhuru signs controversial bill into law

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The bill had generated a lot of debate with many terming it as an infringement to Kenyans freedom of expression.

play President Uhuru Kenyatta signing a past bill into law as National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi (centre) and Majority leader Aden Duale look on. (Courtesy)

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday signed the controversial Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, 2018, into law.

The bill had generated a lot of debate due to several contentious clauses that many rights activists termed as an infringement to Kenyans freedom of expression.

Under the new law, a person who intentionally publishes false publications, misleading or fictitious data or misinforms with intent that the data shall be considered or acted upon as authentic, with or without any financial gain, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both.

play Kenyans at a cybercafe in Nairobi. President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday signed the controversial Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Bill, 2018, into law. (Nation Media Group)

 

The clause may go against the principles of freedom of expression by attempting to criminalise people - mostly bloggers - who may knowingly or unknowingly publish false information.

The new law also gives “special circumstances” where a police officer can take possession of a computer system without a court warrant.

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It also gives the police special powers over telecommunication service providers.

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

The offence leads to a fine not exceeding twenty million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty five years, or to both.

The bill was published by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale.