Can the Law Make Online Spaces Safer?

Good evening Listers,

Let me share this Paper prepared by the UK House of Commons Library last year as a brief on desirable legislative approaches in tackling the vices of our day i.e. online harassment, cyber-enabled violence against women, virtual mobbing, attacks on reputation, publishing personal information, revenge pornography, online identity theft, fake news etc. The paper among other things highlights the pros and cons of employing a purely criminalisation approach and delves into platform responsibility which we can no longer overlook.

I find this timely and informative for our case. The Computer and Cyber Crimes Bill currently under consideration by the National Assembly intends to criminalise some of these vices eg fake news, cyber bullying etc. I think this calls for dialogue amongst different stakeholders to discuss the efficacy of some of these proposals. We must be careful not to end up with laws that cannot be implemented, or worse, that are prone to abuse. We also have to be honest on whether our police service is properly equipped (in terms of capacity and resources) to handle the proposed crimes. I am glad that the National Assembly is currently conducting hearings with different stakeholders (including KICTANet) on the Bill. Looking forward to the final product.

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