New Kenyan law tough on online criminals

kenyaflag.jpgA new law being promulgated in Kenya spells out tough penalties for criminals using cellular phones or the internet to perpetrate crimes.

The Kenya Communications Amendment Act 2008, which details offences and penalties to do with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), prescribes heavy fines and even jail terms for offenders.

The act states that “Any person who publishes or transmits or causes to be published in electronic form obscene information commits an offence,” and further outlines other forms of illegal acts using ICT.

Section 84(G) and 84(H) of the Act states that “unauthorized alteration of mobile phone equipment identity or interfering with its operation” would be punishable by a fine of Sh 1 million or a five year jail term.

Mr Michel Murungi, assistant editor of Kenya Law Reports, reviewed the new legislation on behalf of the Kenya ICT Federation (KIF), and has made some recommendations about the proposed penalties for offenders.

Mr Murungi says: “unauthorized access to or interception of computer services are lesser offences and should not attract higher fines and jail terms than an act which impairs the operation of the computer system.”

The new Act is intended to make certain amendments to the Kenya Communication Act of 1998, in order to provide a clear framework for prosecuting crimes in electronic communications, transactions and broadcasting in the East African country.