Internet Governance Forum 2017 Day 2

A full day of #IGF2017 began with a content-packed session on ‘Emerging Challenges for Data Protection in Latin American Countries’. As Kenya continues to grapple with the development of a stand-alone legal framework for data protection, the experiences from Latin American may provide some insights to guide future work in this area.

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Internet Governance Forum 2017 Day 1

After dealing with the long queues and accreditation process at the United Nations (UN) Palais Des Nations, the first session on the radar was titled ‘E-Commerce: Good or Bad for Development?’. Readers may recall that World Trade Organization (WTO) has a 1998 Work Programme on E-Commerce. This Work Programme provides for the discussion of trade-related issues relating to electronic commerce to take place in the relevant WTO bodies: the Council for Trade in Services; the Council for Trade in Goods; the Council for TRIPS; and the Committee for Trade and Development. The General Council was envisaged to play a review or oversight role. From July 2016, the debate on Electronic Commerce at the WTO intensified when several Members proposed to negotiate new rules in addition to the existing ones in the WTO Agreements. This suggestion for negotiations was opposed by many developing countries because it goes beyond the 1998 mandate. With e-commerce worth about $25 trillion without any new rules, the question being asked is whether the rules being proposed in the WTO would be helpful or harmful for economic development.

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CIPIT Research Investigates Misuse of Biometric Voter Data and Impact on Kenyans’ Privacy

CIPIT is currently investigating how the privacy of Kenyan citizens was affected by the use of biometric data during the just concluded 2017 General Elections and repeat elections. In Kenya, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is mandated by law to register voters, verify their registration details and conduct elections. Accordingly, the IEBC is the custodian of the public voter register. There have been reports that individuals received texts via short messaging service (SMS) from candidates vying for various political seats during the campaign period of the elections. These SMS texts were allegedly accurate as to where the individuals were voting and to some extent, their political inclinations. Our research objective is to investigate such geo-targeting and profiling claims via telecommunication networks and their implications on the voter’s privacy and security.

For more, read our Press Release here.

Impact of Military-Led Information Controls on Democracy: Anatomy of Zimbabwe Coup

by Arthur Gwagwa**

The Zimbabwean military’s re-framing of its recent coup as a constitutionally-mandated power transfer, rather than an illegal seizure of power, is a clear example of the impact that authority-led information manipulation has on the public during popular uprisings. In the case of Zimbabwe, rather than cutting access to information and communication, the military allowed information to flow freely online, but carefully controlled the discourse and opinions expressed in the public space. Crucially, it used soft power to project an image of harmonious civilian-military relations, which was key to ensuring local and global acceptance of the coup.

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E-Commerce and the Law in Kenya: Copyright Implications

This semester, we kick off a brand new course for final year undergraduate law students on e-commerce and the law. This course aims at explaining the legal challenges that are posed by electronic commerce. We shall also contextualise and problematise on-going legal/policy developments in Kenya to regulate electronic commerce. In this blogpost, we highlight some of the issues that arise in the context of copyright law.

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Internet Service Providers to be Enlisted in Fight Against Piracy in Kenya

By Mercy Mutemi**

The world over, copyright owners have resigned to the reality that is it is now harder to protect their copyright over the internet in the age of the BitTorrent network, indexing sites and streaming sites. Indeed legislation is in place recognizing and protecting the economic and moral rights of authors, yet enforcing such protection remains elusive. It is no wonder then that countries are looking to ISPs to uphold copyright protection given the key role they play in availability of content.  Kenya has not been left behind- the recently published Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2017 is set to co-opt ISPs in the fight against piracy.

The Bill is available online here.

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Comments on the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017

As readers may be aware, the Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017 was recently tabled in Parliament for the first reading. The Bill has been the focus of numerous posts on this blog by both CIPIT staff and students. This blogger recently received a copy of the Bill and would like to share some comments. These comments cover several aspects of the Bill including: interpretation, the offence of unauthorised access, the offence of unauthorised interference, the offence of false publication, the offence of child pornography, Search and seizure of stored computer data, power to search without a warrant in special circumstances, production order, real-time collection of traffic data and finally, appeal.

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Draft National Culture Policy in Kenya

The Constitution of Kenya recognises culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation. Article 11 of the Constitution specifically requires the government to promote all forms of national and cultural expressions through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage. The draft National Policy on Culture is an attempt by the Government of Kenya in consultation with academia, practitioners, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to provide a framework that will guide the implementation of the constitutional provisions on culture as well as inform both existing and future laws touching on culture.

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Intellectual Property in Kenya: Social Media Pros and Cons

Last semester I spoke to the 3rd Year Strathmore Law Class on the topic of Social Media. Being an intellectual property (IP) law class, I divided up my presentation into several key areas. Firstly, social media as the subject matter of IP, which was the focus of a previous blogpost here. Secondly, IP in Social Media with a focus on the question of intermediary liability was discussed here. Finally we concluded by considering IP advantages and disadvantages of social media before concluding by looking at two case studies from Kenya. This third point will be the focus of this blogpost.

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Inside the CMO – PERAK – KAHC Deal on Tariff for Hotels, Bars and Restaurants Part 4

The Copyright Act of 2001 is an Act of Parliament to make provision for copyright in literary, musical and artistic works, audio-visual works, sound recordings, broadcasts. The Act also establishes Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), a state corporation under the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice (AG). Principally the Act empowers KECOBO to license and supervise the activities of collecting societies, also known as Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). Anybody who wants to use music (subject to copyright) in public needs a licence to do so. The licence fee, or royalty, depends on the type of use. Royalty rates are set in tariffs, which are determined by CMOs.

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