In Summary
  • The committee chaired by Marakwet West MP William Kisang notes that court orders will help protect the rights of data subjects from flagrant abuse by government agencies and other entities.
  • However, the committee has recommended that the requirement of a court order be exempted on a case by case basis.
  • Comittee chair William Kisang hopes his colleagues will adopt the committee's recommendations to ensure civility and order in management of personal data.

A parliamentary committee has proposed a raft of amendments to Data Protection Bill, 2019 that if passed, will require State agencies seeking to retrieve data on individuals under investigation to secure court orders first.

State agencies can access personal data at will but this will change if MPs adopt the bill based on recommendations of the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation in its report before the House.

The committee chaired by Marakwet West MP William Kisang notes that court orders will help protect the rights of data subjects from flagrant abuse by government agencies and other entities.

It also wants other public bodies to secure the orders before accessing the personal data.

EXEMPTION

However, the committee has recommended that the requirement of a court order be exempted on a case by case basis, especially if the processing of personal data is for the public interest - tracking terrorism suspects as well as individuals with taxation issues among others.

“Public interest is a broader concept, which encompasses an interest that is common concern among citizens in the management of local and national affairs,” the committee’s report reads.

Although the original bill had proposed a fine not exceeding Sh3 million or an imprisonment term not exceeding two years or both for those who violate the law, the committee says the sentence is “too lenient".

While maintaining the fine as is in the bill, the committee wants offenders to serve 10 years in jail so that persons are deterred from committing offences under the Act.

“The proposed two-year imprisonment sentence is too lenient and may not serve the purpose of ensuring protection of personal data."

TELCOS

On Monday, Mr Kisang said he hopes his colleagues will adopt the committee's recommendations to ensure civility and order in management of personal data.

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