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The National Computer and Cybercrime Coordination Committee (NC4) has rolled out a citizen engagement exercise across the country to collect public opinion on the draft regulations on cyber-crimes and misuse of technology.

The NC4 task force in its inaugural public participation forum in Kisumu County on Tuesday stressed the need to incorporate public ideas to produce a secure, safe, and friendly cyberspace for all Kenyans.

Nyanza Regional Commissioner Flora Mworoa in her opening remarks during the occasion decried the spike in cases of cyber-crimes and rampant attacks in the social media in the country in the recent past.

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“Personal profiling, ethnic tensions and attack through the use of social media platforms has led to personal depression among the victims including children,” noted Mworoa, adding that it is the Taskforce’s responsibility to ensure that everybody is sensitised on the proper usage of social media and all kinds of cyberspace.

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She lauded the ongoing government interventions adding that the development of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act would help in taming cyber security threats encountered in digital spaces.

“In the past, we have witnessed a lot of computer misuse and cyber crime and in most of the instances, we have not had regulations or a board that is mandated to deal with these issues. But now we have the draft regulations and a task force in place to address the gaps,” Mworoa said.

The NC4 Co-chair Dr Mark Matunga while speaking at the same event highlighted that the exercise seeks to review the draft regulations that will operationalise the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act (CMCA) 2018.

“The CMCA was enacted in 2018, however, it has not been fully implemented due to some gaps that needed mitigations. Hence, the task force was formed to draft people-centered regulations that will eventually lead to the operationalisation of the CMCA,” Dr Matunga stated.

He allayed the fears of most citizens in the region who are concerned about cybercrime and the intrusion into their privacy.

“The unintended messages received by individuals come either from third parties, governments, or individuals. They are worried about cyberbullying on their children and spouses, and cyberspace attacks,” Dr Matunga explained.

To adequately address these fears, Dr Matunga underscored the reasons why cybercrime misuse regulations are highly important.

Affirming this position, James Yogo, Head of Cybercrime and Security at the Central Bank of Kenya warned that due to the increasing cases of cybercrime, it is predicted that by 2025, the world will spend $10.5 trillion annually in tackling cyber security.

“This is very close to the US, China and illegal drug trade combined together. Kenya has made significant steps by enacting the Cybercrime Act in 2018. The expectation is that we get to detect, and proactively respond to cybercrime end-to-end because the cases are increasing day-by-day,” clarified Yogo who is also a member of the Taskforce.

According to the joint secretary of the task force, Dr David Njoga, Kenya is currently adopting a lot of digitization in its processes by using technology to enable businesses to operate, thus, the need to regulate cyberspace.

“With the inception of the digital economy, we have identified cybersecurity as a major concern that influences the country’s economy and other cross-cutting issues,” Dr Njoga.

Dr. Njoga, who also heads the cyber security, policy and strategy unit at the NC4 noted that the Act covers cybercrime management frameworks that stipulate the various related offences and the punishments.

“Cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and all other cyber vices will be a thing of the past if we tackle the issues using the cybercrime management framework,” he stated.

To support Kenya’s ambitious digital economy campaign, observed Dr Njoga, there is a need to establish adequate capacity and capability in terms of skills, resource persons, tools and equipment in cyberspace.

The draft regulations further seek to promote coordination, collaboration and cooperation with other countries in the cybersecurity sector including critical infrastructure protection.

“Cybercrime or cyberspace has no physical boundaries, we have seen people take advantage of cyberspace and act anonymously from within or without the borders to bully, and steal data and money from innocent citizens. Through collaboration with other nations and serious regulations, such perpetrators can be apprehended and severely punished,” he assured.

CMCA, 2028 has listed some of the offences including computer fraud, cyber forgery, cyber espionage, unauthorised access to ICT systems, false information publication, and child pornography. Others are fraudulent use of electronic data, identity theft, cyber harassment, and cyber terrorism among others.

By Robert Ojwang (KNA, Kisumu)

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