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Law to tame online porn, hate speech in offing

By RAWLINGS OTIENO | June 20th 2014 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya: Online child pornography and hate speech will attract stringent punishment including six-year jail terms if a proposed Bill to tackle cyber crime is enacted into law.

Under the Cybercrimes and Computer Crimes Bill, 2014, persons convicted of the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words to stir up ethnic hatred through a computer system will face a five-year jail term.

“A person who commits an offence of threatening, abusive or insulting words with an intent to stir up ethnic hatred shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both,” reads part of the proposed law.

If the Bill is passed in its current form, a person who offers or attempts acts amounting to child pornography is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than six years or to a fine of not less than Sh500,000.

This comes in the wake of increased hatred and incitement through social media that has stirred up ethnic tension in the country.

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The Bill, drafted by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, proposes that a person, who intentionally and without lawful excuse by using a computer system to transfer, possesses, or uses any means of identification of another person, with the intent to commit any unlawful activity that constitutes a crime, commits an offence.

Should the Bill be passed by Parliament, a person who uses computers to threaten, abuse or use insulting words or behaviour, displays, publishes or distributes written or electronic material; or distributes, shows or plays a recording of visual images will be held accountable.

The Bill also proposes that a person who sells, distributes or publicly exhibits through a computer system and puts into circulation, distribution any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, art, representation or figure or any other obscene object will be prosecuted.

The Bill also seeks to tame those who communicate obscene, disrespectful, or indecent language, picture or image or distribute information in a manner that substantially increases the risk of harm or violence to any other person.

Those who take or distribute pictures or photographs of any person without his consent or knowledge will be charged under the law with the offence of cyber stalking.

Internet imposters

The law proposed by the DPP states that a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly uses a computer system including electronic communication to harass, intimidate or cause substantial emotional distress or anxiety to another person will be held to account.

A person who causes a computer system to perform any function for the purpose of securing access to any program or data held in any computer system, with intent to commit an offence under any law, that person commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh 500,000 or to imprisonment term of two years or both.

The cybercrime and computer crimes Bill also proposes that those found guilty of committing the offence on a ship or aircraft registered in Kenya, using a Kenyan domain name or outside the territory of Kenya will also be prosecuted and will either be fined up to Sh2 million, be jailed for three years, or both.


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