A high court judge has ruled that the recently passed Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act, 2018 will remain suspended for three more months pending the hearing and determination on a case logged by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), challenging some of the sections of the Bill.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Chacha Mwita in May, the court had suspended 26 controversial clauses in the Computer and Cybercrimes Act 2018 following the case by Bake on grounds that the sections were out to suppress freedom of speech and create room for censorship.
“Section 16 and 17 that touch on an unauthorized interception, access and interference are meant to stifle whistleblowing culture and practice in the country,” Bake said through their lawyer.
President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill in May this year. The bill among other things seeks to criminalize fake news.
The 26 controversial clauses in the Cyber-Crimes Bill include;
- The composition of the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee (the Committee).
- The following offences:
- a) unauthorized interference of computer systems
b) unauthorized interception of data from computer systems
c) false publications and publication of false information
d) child pornography
e) cyberstalking and cyber-bullying
g) identity theft and impersonation
h) interception of electronic messages or money transfers
i) willful misdirection of electronic messages
j) cyber terrorism
k) inducement to deliver electronic messages not meant for the recipient
l) intentionally withholding erroneously delivered messages
m) unlawful destruction of electronic messages
- n) Wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images
o) fraudulent use of electronic data
p) issuance of false e-instructions
The government then sought to have judicial review of the ruling saying Justice Chacha erred in his ruling.
The Law Society of Kenya, Kenya Union of Journalists and privacy lobby group Article 19 have since applied to be enjoined in the case.