Kenya 2022 Matiang’i: We will not shut down Twitter over elections

Kenya 2022 General Election

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Aug 19, 2012
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The government will not shut social media sites before, during and after the elections, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.

The CS, who admitted that there was an escalation in fake news and unprecedented abuse of social media, said cyberspace has been a tough call to police, with security agencies dealing with internal and external cases.

Dr Matiang’i said the government is banking on the cybersecurity strategy that is being finalised in Naivasha, Nakuru County, to combat online crime ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Speaking after officially opening the morning session, Dr Matiang’i said the government was alive to the threats posed by cyberspace.

“We are approaching elections and the big debate is how we are going to behave with each other. The strategy could not have come at a better time as it will help police to build capacity in cyberspace,” he said.

But he said Kenya is democratic country and the government could not engage in retrogressive acts like shutting the internet and clawing back constitutional gains.

“No amount of insults will make us engage in such acts, but in the same breath, we expect those who will engage in politics to behave responsibly,” noted the CS.

He pointed out that new technology has presented new risks that can cause widespread damage to national security, economic growth and critical infrastructure.

He admitted that cybercrime is a complex challenge for any government to address alone, underscoring the need for a multi-sectoral approach in combating the vice.

He voiced the need for the Kenya Defence Forces, police, DCI and NSIS to invest heavily in internal capacity to deal with cybercrime.

“We must protect the integrity of our country … we must be prepared,” said Dr Matiang’i

On the rolling out of Huduma numbers, Dr Matiang'i said the aim is to have a single source of information for better services, pegging hopes on the current strategy to address the issue of data protection.

“When we thought we were doing a wonderful thing by creating a single source of information, collecting personal data aimed at bettering service delivery, we found ourselves in the corridors of justice,” he said.

He acknowledged the need to review laws and regulations that affect commerce, calling on the Kenya Bureau of Standards to step up a standardisation programme that rides on technology.

“By addressing these risks and understanding the impact of Kenya’s cybersecurity efforts, technology growth and economic development will be significantly enabled by cybersecurity implementation,” he added.

For his part, ICT Principal Secretary Jerome Ochieng told participants that cybercrimes targeting children are on the rise, calling on stakeholders to provide guidelines for children's safety and the nation’s future in cyberspace.

“Misinformation and false propaganda are some of the cyber-risks. It is, therefore, necessary to develop a national culture of cybersecurity or cyber-hygiene and where necessary strengthen online positive propaganda/news,” Mr Ochieng said.

In a speech read on his behalf, he said it was necessary to undertake research or surveys to determine the actual cybersecurity posture of the nation and identify existing gaps.

Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said cyberbullying incidents have declined since the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act came into force.

For his part, Ezra Chiloba, director-general of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), said cybersecurity threats have become dynamic and resilient.

“As we focus on the digital economy, we need to secure that space. The nation’s survival will depend on the digital economy,” he said

Speaking via Zoom from Kigali, Rwanda, Mr Chiloba said the strategy should be responsive to existing threats, saying a recent report published by the Word Economic Forum put cybercrime among the top 10 security risks around the world

Source: Nation Africa
 
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