Kenya now considering TikTok ban for top gov't officers

Kenya now considering TikTok ban for top gov't officers

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki speaks before the Public Petitions Committee of the National Assembly on March 21, 2024.

Senior government officers could soon be barred from sharing certain information or using the popular Chinese App TikTok on government gadgets.

This is according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki who says the matter is actively being discussed at the National Security Council, as social media is posing a huge security risk for the country.

Speaking before the Public Petitions Committee of the National Assembly on Thursday, Kindiki said they are mulling forming another layer of defence forces to guard the country against the threats of cyber security.

“Today cyberspace is the theatre of risk, and therefore going forward we should invest in internal security and defence arrangements that will create a fourth defence tyre, we need both the military and internal security expertise and technology people to be the fourth arm of our defence to secure our cyberspace,” he told the committee.

“Cyber security and ICT technology threats are as big a priority as our other priorities on the defence of our land and our borders even as we collaborate with our brothers in the ministry of defence.”

The sessional chair of the committee and Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama had queried if there is any policy against public officers using the popular app considering the security threats that could occur because of using TitkTok.

“Is there a policy by the government on how senior government officers use this application? Has the government required officers to use this app in a certain way?’’ Marwa posed.

However, Kindiki told the MPs that the issue was not straightforward, as it required a change of laws and policies.

“The potential of that space to hurt our security is big but also the potential and the irreversibility of cyberspace and its contribution to our development going forward is undeniable,” the CS said.

He told the committee that the government has however written to the owners of the app to explain the concerns that have been raised about how the app is being misused by criminals to spread malicious propaganda, steal popular accounts through theft and impersonation, conduct fraud by duping Kenyans into fake forex traders, fake job recruitments and distribute sexual content and intimate images through its live feature.

“The right to be heard is undeniable right, even if someone has nothing to say, you they must be given the opportunity to say nothing before action is taken if they don’t reply, we take action, we will do what we must do if they don’t comply,” Kindiki said.

The committee is considering a petition by Bob Ndolo, that wants TikTok to be banned in Kenya for allegedly promoting the decay of morals in the country and defrauding Kenyans.


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