In Summary
  • The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill of 2017 is before Parliament and undergoing public consultations. Whereas it does contain contentious clauses, we must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
  • As the country gets more and more digitised, new forms of threats and crimes emerge. These crimes present challenges to the authorities in terms of investigations, prosecution and judicial adjudication, since the old legal frameworks do not adequately apply.
  • In general, the Kenyan cybercrime bill has tried to be consistent with the Budapest Convention, but as KICTAnet has found out in its preliminary study, the devil is truly in the details.
  • On a much broader level, the bill lacks the supporting governance framework under which it can be adopted. Specifically, issues to do with capacity building in the police and judicial wing are not covered, meaning that implementation of the law will face serious challenges.

The Computer and Cybercrimes Bill of 2017 is before Parliament and undergoing public consultations. Whereas it does contain contentious clauses, we must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

This is because the Cybercrimes Bill is one of the four pending bills that are required to usher in a true digital economy for Kenya. The other three are the Data Protection Act, the Electronic Transactions Act and the Copyright Act.

As the country gets more and more digitised, new forms of threats and crimes emerge. These crimes present challenges to the authorities in terms of investigations, prosecution and judicial adjudication, since the old legal frameworks do not adequately apply.

A legal framework covering crimes against and using computer systems is therefore a welcome development and would go a long way in making Kenya a safer place.

BUDAPEST CONVENTION

A quick glance at the proposed Computer and Cybercrime Bill shows that it is based on the European Union benchmark, commonly known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

This convention expects countries to upgrade their laws to reflect new digital crimes such as hacking, cyber-espionage, false publications, online child pornography, computer forgery, computer fraud, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying.

The cybercrime convention also requires countries to make provisions for international cooperation or mutual assistance when it comes to fighting cybercrime, given its global nature.

The final expectation from the cybercrime convention relates to the investigative procedures that includes searching and seizing computer systems as surveillance of computer networks.

In general, the Kenyan cybercrime bill has tried to be consistent with the Budapest Convention, but as KICTAnet has found out in its preliminary study, the devil is truly in the details.

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