KICA Amendment Bill Proposes Changes to Compliance with Intellectual Property Rights

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ICT CS Eliud Owalo

Kenya is amending the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 (KICA). The law has undergone a lot of changes over the years thanks to the proliferation of ICT services, products, and use cases in the country, and this latest development, which basically doesn’t cover much, appears to be an attempt to modernize laws that guard the use of ICT services in the country.

The majority of the amendments in the bill entail a change in the naming of authorities that police the local ICT industry. For instance, Section 23 of the Principal Act will be amended to include guidelines on critical national infrastructure assets and to require compliance with intellectual property rights in respect of any work or material.

The proposal suggests the replacement of the word Commission with Authority in the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which may affect the implementation of the act by changing the name of the regulatory body responsible for overseeing information and communications in Kenya.

Generally speaking, the proposal aims to amend the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, and for connected purposes. It is possible that these connected purposes are related to the implementation or enforcement of the amended act, but without more information from the BILL, it is difficult to say for certain.

To this end, The Ministry for Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy has since formed a committee made up of various stakeholders to evaluate the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998, and to ensure it aligns with current industry developments and the ICT Policy Guidelines of 2020.

As part of the review, the committee will hold public consultations. The Ministry is now requesting that stakeholders, members of the public, and anyone else interested, provide their opinions, suggestions, and justifications on the Draft Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Bill, 2023, which will be taken into account when making changes to the Act.

The proposal can be read here.