President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Wednesday assent to a new law that will cost you Sh5 million for spreading false information electronically. Parliament passed the Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill last month despite protests from the media that it could be abused to stifle press freedom. The Bill stipulates stiff penalties on cyber espionage, false publications, child pornography, computer forgery, cyberstalking and cyber-bullying.
Most offences related to online harassment have previously been charged through the ancient Penal Code and the NCIC Act. Once Uhuru signs the Bill, sharing fake news and propagating hate speech will attract an Sh5 million fine or a two-year prison sentence, or both. Sharing pornography through the various electronic means will attract a maximum fine of Sh300,000 or 30 years in prison or both if proven.
The new law will be a welcome relief to the corporate sectors with Kenyan firms losing billions of shillings annually. The Bill also says that anyone found to have caused unauthorized interference to a computer system, program or data upon conviction is also liable to a fine not exceeding Sh10m or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both.
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