Why 'stalking' and 'sliding into DM' could cost you Sh20 million or 10 years in jail

That raunchy chat could now take you to the dogs.

A close look at Section 16 of the , which is now a law, avers that “a person who, individually or with other Cyberstalking and persons, willfully and repeatedly communicates, either  directly or indirectly, with another person or anyone known to that person, commits an offence.”

The clause on Cyberstalking and Cyber-Bullying, warns that should that communication which detrimentally offends the other person you are sending the messages to, then one could land in jail for ten years or pay a penalty of Sh20 million, or both.

However, the messages in question should possess qualities such as “a likelihood to cause those recipients apprehension or fear of violence to them or damage or loss on that their property; or detrimentally affects them.”

“A person who commits…[this offense] is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both,” the clause reads in part.

Electronic devices search

The law also gives police officers, in cases where they believe you are bound to commit a crime, the sole power to search your electronic device, including phone, tablet and computer to prevent the crime.

“Where a police officer or an authorised person has reasonable grounds to believe that there may be in a specified computer system or part of it, computer data storage medium, program, data, that: is reasonably required for the purpose of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings which may be material as evidence; or has been acquired by a person as a result of the commission of an offence, the police officer or the authorised person may apply to the court for issue of a warrant to enter any premises to access, search and similarly seize such data,” the stringent law reads in part.

The new law also targets journalists, media houses, social media users, bloggers and other Internet users.

The assent comes amid calls for the president to revert the law back to Parliament to ensure its provisions are constitutional and do not violate the right to media freedom and expression.

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged President Kenyatta not to assent to the bill, saying it stifles press freedom.

“Kenyan legislatures have passed a wide ranging bill that will criminalise free speech with journalist and bloggers likely to be the first victims if signed into law,” said CPJ's Africa Coordinator Angela Quintal in New York.

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