You are about to be required to get CA permission before creating that WhatsApp Group

There is this time, I don’t remember when, when Communication Authority was all fire about WhatsApp Groups. I think it was at the height of 2017 General Elections. They wanted to monitor all conversations that happen in WhatsApp Groups. Threats around that time included holding Group Admins whose groups were used to spew hate messages. By the look of things, they want to make those threats official. But not only are they interested in going after WhatsApp Group admins (including Facebook Group Admins), but they also want those admins to foremost seek permits before they can open up WhatsApp groups. When talking about madness, this one climbs to the top.

The way Communication Authority wants to go after WhatsApp Group admins is through a legislation a bill of which is to presented in parliament this week. Among other things, the Bill proposes that WhatsApp Group admins will have to have a database of physical addresses of all the members of the group.

“The new part will introduce new sections to the Act on licensing of social media platforms, sharing of information by a licensed person, creates obligations to social media users, registration of bloggers and seeks to give responsibility to CA to develop a bloggers’ code of conduct in consultation with bloggers,” The Standard quoted part of the Bill.

The quote above means bloggers like myself are not spared either from the madness. People who are involved in collecting, writing, editing and presenting of news articles on social media or the Internet, which is basically anyone online, has been defined as a blogger. Failure for Internet users therefore to comply with the law will mean they get jailed for up to two years or be fined up to shs 500,000.

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Right now anyone in Kenya with access to the Internet can get online and post however he or she wants. However, when the Bill becomes law, anyone below the age of 18 will not be allowed on WhatsApp groups or other social media platforms controlled by adults.

See also: WhatsApp now allows you to share WhatsApp Status updates on Facebook and elsewhere

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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