A Bill which seeks to protect personal data from misuse by State and private agencies has received a nod from the Government.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, who yesterday appeared before the Senate Committee on ICT to give his views on the proposed Data Protection Bill, 2018, termed it as progressive.
The Bill sponsored by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi proposes that an agency which collects personal data must take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of information in its possession or control is guaranteed.
It stipulates that unlawful access or unauthorised processing of the stored data is criminal.
“The Bill is in line with the development agenda we have as a country of becoming a digital nation. If passed into law, it will assist us use technology to enhance the quality of life of Kenyans,” said Mr Mucheru.
Earlier, the CS in his submission proposed minor changes to the proposed law, including changing the name from Data Protection Bill to Data Protection and Privacy Bill.
In the Bill, Senator Gideon seeks to have a special commission formed to oversee the implementation of the Act, further proposing that the same body be held responsible for enforcement of the legislation.
Yesterday, however, Mucheru argued that an independent regulator would be the best body to have an oversight of the data collected, instead of a commission.
He, at the same time, proposed the Bill should have a provision for the establishment and maintenance of a register of all persons or institutions processing personal data “to allow for sufficient and effective oversight of the processing activities.”
The proposed legislation comes months after concern was raised over the Huduma Namba registration exercise, with those opposed to the process raising concern about the safety of the data collected by the Government.
Yesterday, the Baringo Senator said he was pleased that his committee had a fruitful engagement with the CS and his team, pointing out that those with fears about the data collected through the Huduma Namba programme should rest easy.
“If enacted into law, Kenyans will have no reason to worry about their personal data. They will know and feel secure about their personal information since all kind of data is covered in the Bill,” said Gideon.
“I am happy that we are all in harmony with the Bill. I am looking forward to the passage of the Bill into law in the next two months,” he said, insisting that “the Bill is extremely important to Kenyans and the private and public sector.“