Telecommunications operators are demanding deletion of the clause on search and seizure of suspicious data in the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017, saying it is impractical and subject to abuse.
The clause allows police to obtain a court warrant to enter any premises, to access, search and similarly seize computer data believed to criminal.
Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya (Tespok) said it is highly probable a person or company may use the provision to sabotage competitors or business rivals.
“It is the industry’s proposal that this be deleted because it is subject to abuse,” said Tespok chief executive officer, Fiona Asonga in an interview.
She noted that seizure of a company’s computers and data during investigations has huge implications on its reputation and the business environment.
“The requirement that an investigation officer seize computer system during an investigation is impractical as it will have heavy implication on the business environment,” she said.
The Bill sponsored by Majority Leader Aden Duale proposes to provide a framework to prevent and control cybercrime.
The proposed law outlines offences such cyber espionage, cyber stalking and unauthorised disclosure of passwords, among others.
Lawyer Edwin Thion’go says that at the end of day, it is the Criminal Procedure Code which provides general power to search and seize as well as the Penal Code that will be relied on.
“There has been continued debate that power to search and seize by the police should be curtailed,” he said.