The Cabinet Secretary Information, Communication and Technology Joe Mucheru has put together a taskforce christened Taskforce on the Development of the Policy and Regulatory Framework for Privacy and Data Protection in Kenya.
The task-force will be chaired by Ms Mercy Wanjau, a lawyer by profession and currently an Assistant Director, Regulatory Affairs and Governance at the Communications Authority of Kenya. She will be joined by Irene Kabua, Thuranira Gatuyu, Daniel Obam (Eng.), Christopher Mama, Sylvia Chelegoi, Humphrey Njogu (Dr.), Evans Kahuthu, John Walubengo, Henry Mama, Stellar Wawira, Marion Muriithi, Millicent Kivuva, Stanley Otachi and Charles Lomonyang.
The task-force has the mandate to hold meetings, public forums and consultation while performing its duty. It will be looking to identify gaps in the current frameworks and thus will audit existing policies on privacy and data protection in Kenya as well as legislation, administrative procedures, regulation, sessional papers, government guidelines and circulars.
Under the gazette notice the team has been given three months from 15th March 2018 to present its findings to the Cabinet Secretary; a period which may be extended if he deems it necessary. The task-force is to propose any new policy, legal and institutional framework that may be required to implement a new regulatory framework for privacy and data protection.
Privacy and data protection have recently come into the limelight especially in regards to governments and businesses using data collected from citizens unknowingly. The most notable case is that of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica where user data was used to create psychological profiles for political message targeting, Kenya was among the countries affected in the scuffle.
Furthermore, the recently released iFreedoms State of the Internet in Kenya 2017 report mentioned a case where the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) had in January 2017 announced three projects meant to help stop a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence. The projects involved monitoring radio frequencies, social media and managing devices. A move, which was thwarted by high court judge Justice Mativo after activist Okiya Omutata moved to court.
As such the taskforce will examine the existence of any international treaty or convention ratified by Kenya relating to privacy and data protection. Additionally, the team will also consider the application of the bill of rights, the values, and principles applicable to the policy, legal and institutional frameworks governing privacy and data as envisioned in the constitution.