What you need to know:
- Previously, Kenyans courts were limited in trying offences committed outside the country.
- Those found guilty will either be fined up to Sh2 million, be jailed for three years, or both.
- Those who unlawfully disclose passwords, access code or any other means of gaining access to any program or data held in any computer will also be punished.
Courts in the country will soon have jurisdiction to try any Kenyan citizen who commits an offence anywhere in the world if the Cybercrime and Computer Crimes Bill, 2014 becomes law.
The Bill, which was drafted by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution and is to be tabled in Parliament, proposes actions for offence committed in and outside Kenya.
“We need these laws and once in place we have to sensitise Kenyans so that we can deal with cybercrime,” Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor said when opening a forum for stakeholders to discuss the proposed Bill this week. (READ: There’s urgent need for internet law)
Previously, Kenyans courts were limited in trying offences committed outside the country.
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.
They will either be fined up to Sh2 million, be jailed for three years, or both.
Evidence generated from a computer system will also be admissible in a court of law while prosecuting such a crime.
The Bill also proposes that a person who causes a computer system to perform a function, knowing that the access they intend to secure is unauthorised, commits an offence.
“A person who intentionally and without lawful excuse or justification, inputs, alters, delays transmission, deletes, or suppresses computer data, resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million or ten years imprisonment or both.”
The Bill also proposes that a person who sells, lets to hire, distributes, publicly exhibits through a computer system and puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or circulation, makes, produces or their possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, art, representation or figure or any other obscene object commits an offence.
Those using computers to threaten, abuse or 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 action on a person who uses a computer system including electronic communication to harass, intimidate or cause substantial emotional distress or anxiety to another person.
These include communicating obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, picture or image.
Courts will also issue a warrant authorising a police officer or lawful authority, to enter any premises to access, search and seize the thing or computer data.
All public or private corporations processing personal data will be expected to report any security breaches resulting in theft, loss or misuse of data to the police and those who will fail will be committing an offence.