October 2nd, 2018

By David Mukara

The Government is committed to protecting private data for its citizenry and it has formulated a framework that will give a legal backing to this, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information Communications and Technology has said.

He was speaking in Nairobi while launching a public consultation on the draft Policy and Bill on Privacy and Data Protection.

If enacted into law, the new framework will see personal data, which citizens give out daily becoming more secured. The law will compel companies or individuals asking for personal data such as names, phone numbers identity card numbers to inform the person they are collecting data from, about the data processing activities and specify the purposes for which they intend to use the data for.

The proposed Legislation also proposes the formation of the Office of a Data Protection Regulator to enforce data protection procedures.

“This framework informs on the management of personal data in the information cycle and the commitment of the Kenyan government to protect personal data, including the personal sensitive data,” he said.

The CS cited an example during last year’s general election when members of public complained of receiving unsolicited text and WhatsApp messages from aspiring politicians seeking their support and where Facebook disabled a feature that could let users, through the social media giant’s search engine, search for peoples’ public profile.

Also present were Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation which is the sponsor of the Bill Hon. William Kipsang, Principal Secretaries in the State Departments of ICT and Innovation and that of Broadcasting and Telecommunications Mr Jerome Ochieng and Mrs Fatuma Hirsi respectively.

Hon. William Kipsang said that the committee will work hard within the set timelines to make sure that the Bill becomes law by February next year. He called on all the stakeholders, including the media, to participate and give their views during this public hearing stage rather than wait until the Bill becomes and begin to raise their concerns.

He also defended the Bill, saying that it does not deny anyone his or her constitutional Rights and freedoms.

“We are alive to Articles 31 to 35 of the Constitution of Kenya. We do not intend to deny anyone their freedoms,” he said.

On his part, Principal Secretary in the State Department of ICT and Innovation Mr Jerome Ochieng said the purpose of the framework for privacy and data protection is to lay foundation to enforce Article 31 (on Privacy) of the Constitution of Kenya.

On her part, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications Mrs Fatuma Hirsi said the two State Departments will work together to see that Kenyans privacy is protected through such legislations.