HomeFEATURED ARTICLECyber criminals days numbered as law inches closer

Cyber criminals days numbered as law inches closer

The Government is fast-tracking Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill 2016 to have the law in place before the end of the year. Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary (CS) Joe Mucheru said the Draft Bill emanates from great public interest, arising out of the need to tame abuse of web based systems and the rise in cyber crime.

“There is great public interest and concern over the rise of computer  and cyber related crime as some laws were enacted long before the republic adopted new technologies such as mobile money (MPesa) mobile internet and Wi-Fi,” said Mr Mucheru.

The CS said the  Bill will be launched next week for participation and input of the public before it is taken to teh National Assembly, Senate then AG’s office. “Hopefully, the law will be in place before the end of the year.  The previous laws were more general – making it hard to prosecute law offenders but this Bill looks into specifics.”

He was speaking Wednesday morning at the Ministry’s Media Centre at Teleposta Tower during a media briefing on the Computer and Cyber Crimes Draft Bill 2016.

Mr Mucheru said the Bill borrows heavily from international standards with input from experts in Europe, Inter-Agency Committee for Formulation on Cyber-crime and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. The offences under the draft Bill carry a penalty of Ksh20 million or a 20-year imprisonment.

“The Council of Europe experts agree that the Bill meets international best practices and standards and when enacted into law, would be a pace setter globally,” noted the CS.

The draft Bill stipulates wide ranging offences relating to aspects of unauthorised access, access with intent to commit further offences, offences involving protected computer systems, child pornography, cyber-bullying, cyber-staking and compute fraud.

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Mr Mucheru stated that mobile payment channels process 7.5 million transactions valued at Ksh2.9 billion daily while the Kenya Electronic Payment and Settlement System (KEPSS) transacts more than Ksh100 billion hence the need for laws to protect them from local and international vulnerabilities.

The law, once enacted, will also assist law enforcement agencies cope with investigations and prosecutorial challenges, after criminals devised new ways of committing crimes such as child abuse, identity theft and online fraud. Others are money laundering, phishing, botnets, cyber-stalking, hate speech, radicalisation among others.

The CS said the policing tools have in the past not utilised highly sophisticated gadgets or computer aided forensic equipment, adding that proportionality in sentencing has been taken into consideration with human rights best practices under the Bill.

The Principal Secretary for Information and Broadcasting in the Ministry of ICT Mr Sammy Itemere said the journey to draft Computer Cyber Bill 2016 began in September 2015 with input from Central Bank of Kenya, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kenya Law Reform Commission, Communications Authority of Kenya, the National Police Service, National Intelligence Service and Technology Service Providers of Kenya.

Others are The Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Strathmore University, Information Communications and Technology Authority, National Communications Secretary and the Ministry of ICT. (mygov.go.ke)

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