Kenyans love gossip. We want to know how our favourite politicians, celebrities, family members and former lovers are faring. Social media comes in handy in assisting us get our noses in everyone’s business.
But as the case of Natalie Tewa, a popular YouTuber whose private documents were shared by a gossip blogger shows us, where do we draw the line? Women are increasingly finding themselves the objects of ridicule and shame as bloggers and ex-lovers share their nude photos and videos on the Internet. And it’s not just women: Governor Mike Sonko popularised the idea of sharing screenshots to prove a point. Social media is becoming a dangerous place as one does not know who will share screenshots of their private communications.
What most Kenyans, especially former lovers happily sharing their exes’ nudes and information don’t know, is that it is a criminal offence and a breach of their privacy to expose people’s private information without consent.
Edgar Obare has learned this a little too late as he is already being charged with unlawful disclosure of personal data under section 72(3)(b) as read with section 73 of the Data Protection Act 2019.
It is one thing to share information about people’s lives, but to ridicule and embarrass them using their pictures, private documents or messages breaches their right to privacy as enshrined in the Constitution, and backed up by both the Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2019.
The days when people would blackmail others for money or sex, lest they share their personal data online, are over.
More victims of this breach should not just deactivate their accounts or wallow in depression, but should find their way to the nearest court for justice.
Ms Kyalo comments on topical issues. [email protected]