The police need specialised training in the use of technology and social media to effectively fight cybercrime in Kenya.
Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said law enforcement agencies need to follow international standards to effectively deal with the emerging gender-based violence on the Internet.
“Training on digital forensics may be appropriate in order to acquire adequate analytical and technical capabilities,” Mr Mucheru said.
He said cyber-based violence, which manifests itself in the form of trolling/stalking, bullying and emotional abuse, among others, could undo some of the good that the new information age potentially presents for the country, if not tackled.
He said the phenomenon has serious implications for societies and economies around the world.
“In Kenya, it is estimated that mobile phone penetration stands at over 80 per cent, and Internet penetration at 64 per cent (approximately reaching 29.1 million individuals), making Kenya the 21st most connected population in the world.
“Kenya in turn has one of the most active online populations on the continent, with users increasing in number every day,” he said.
The growing reach of the Internet, the rapid spread of mobile phones and the wide diffusion of social media, he said, have been lauded for contributing to Africa’s development and for presenting opportunities for job creation and economic growth.
HARM WOMEN AND GIRLS
“However, as much as they are beneficial, they are also presenting new avenues and tools to inflict harm on women and girls,” Mr Mucheru said.
He spoke during International Women’s Day celebrations at the Hotel Intercontinental in Nairobi.
The theme of his year’s celebrations was “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, with a forum on "Making the Internet a Safer Place for women".
He said women across the board have been affected, ranging from students, senior government officials, politicians, and media and entertainment personalities.
Mr Mucheru said the government had adopted measures to mitigate the challenges posed by the increased access to the Internet.
“These measures include the adoption of the National ICT Sector Policy of 2006, which is currently under review.
“The other is a review of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and its attendant regulations which enhance the role of Communications Authority as the ICT regulator with regard to managing critical Internet resources and cybercrime,” he said.
The Computer Crimes and Cybercrimes Bill, which seeks to address issues related to crimes committed on the Internet, including gender-based cyber-violence, will in two weeks be subjected to stakeholder consultation.
The function was attended by UN Women County Director Zebib Kavuma, African Development Bank Regional Director Gabriel Negatu and head of Italian Agency for Development Corporation Teresa Savanella, among others.
Last year, several people were arrested after they stripped women on the streets for allegedly dressing indecently, in a trend that placed Kenya on the spot.
Those who committed the act even went further to shoot videos and photos of their victims and circulated them on social media.