As Kenya heads to the election period, the country has officially launched the National Computer and Cyber Crimes Coordination Committee (NCCCC) as part of its wider efforts to combat the rising cybercrime threats.

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday during the launch of the secretariat, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said the committee which comprises representatives from security agencies, the Central Bank of Kenya, the Office of The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) among others, will play key roles in ensuring the country’s safety with the ever-evolving cyber world.

The NCCC will be tasked with consolidating action on the detection, investigation, and prosecution of cybercrimes.

“The Cybercrime industry the last time I checked was about 13 billion US dollar industry and it has probably grown beyond that. Nations around the world are pumping resources into research because the truth of the matter is this, whether we like it or not, from now until probably we exit this universe our lives are going to be influenced by 3D’s, data, devices, and designs,” Matiangi said.

Matiangi stated that the newly formed Secretariat will prioritize the misuse of social media which he described as a major threat to national security and integration.

Posting fake holidays, spreading fake news of someone’s death, and posting pictures lifted from the internet to spread misinformation are some of the things that will get you arrested.

“People have been giving public holidays on social media, killing others online, and even publishing content from different countries to mislead citizens. This habit must stop.”

The Interior CS warned there will be a sustained crackdown against individuals who misuse the social media space especially as the country edges closer to the August 2022 general elections.

“As we approach the General Election, our challenge number one is the misuse and abuse of social media,” the Interior CS said.

“People need to appreciate the reality of what we are dealing in that is why I am saying now is the time to invest heavily in this, we have started, this is the point of departure, let us think hard about what we need to do in this area (cyberspace). Let us deepen knowledge,” said Matiangi.

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ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru who also spoke at the event said that the operationalization of the committee was timely in the quest to protect the country’s critical information infrastructure.

“You are aware the other day Facebook faced challenges, some people interfered with their systems, We are vulnerable to such systems if we don’t have strong laws and people whose day to day job is focused on making sure that our infrastructure and our systems are working,” he said.

ICT CS pointed out that the new law was necessary to support the digital economy and called for its stringent application.

Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Karanja Kibicho who chairs the NC4 said the unveiling of the Secretariat will deter rampant abuse and character assassinations on social media.

“The operationalization of this Secretariat and the law will provide us as a country with a very good foundation to get recourse from those who are hiding behind the keyboard of their phones to commit crime,” he said.

Also present in the event were Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Communications Authority Director General Ezra Chiloba, Broadcasting, and Telecommunications PS Esther Koimett among others.

The NCCC was established under the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act of 2018 to enable timely prohibition, detection, investigation, prosecution, and response to computer misuse and cybercrime.

The Act provides a framework to fight computer misuse and cybercrime by facilitating investigation procedures for local and international cooperation.

It establishes jurisdiction and prescribes penalties for crimes such as mobile money fraud, developing websites to steal people’s information, and child pornography among others.

The Committee comprises representatives from the Kenya Defence Forces, the National Police Service, the National Intelligence Service, the Ministry of the Interior, as well as representatives from the office of the Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions, Communications Authority of Kenya, and the Central Bank among other agencies.

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