The minute you post something on the internet or let that little bird on Twitter fly away you are either breaching or following stipulated grundnorm of the land. So do you know your rights as an internet user? Article 33 of the Constitution of Kenya provides for the freedom of expression. In addition, article 34 of the same constitution provides for the freedom of the media. The question that many people fail to have know how is the extent to which these rights can be applied.
Technology development created confusion after World War II. The traditional postal, telephone, and telegraph services developed over the past century are being both supplemented and replaced by the continuing emergence of new communications services. Following these developments, some concerns have been expressed regarding the impact of the new information technologies on existing economic, social and cultural structures.
As the internet grew, law makers decided that activity on the Internet cannot be exempted from the basic legal principles that are applied elsewhere; the Internet is not an anarchic area where society’s rules do not apply, the ability of governments and public authorities to restrict the rights of individuals and monitor potentially unlawful behavior should be no greater on the Internet than it is elsewhere.
Generally, the internet is a network of networks linking businesses, government, homes, and institutions to a wide range of interactive services, from educational and cultural products to social services, databanks, computers, electronic commerce, banking, business services. So, the internet can not be lawless. However, every law has an exemption and can be twisted in many ways. On internet freedom, questions arise about how that law will be applied.
In the spirit of creating awareness on internet freedoms, a campaign dubbed Internet Freedoms Citizen Education Campaign has was launched. The campaign seeks to create awareness on principles, Freedom of Expression, Right to Information, Freedom of Assembly and Association on the Internet, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, Privacy, Security on the Internet and Right to Due Process.
The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms provides that the Internet should have an open and distributed architecture, and should continue to be based on open standards and application interfaces and guarantee interoperability so as to enable a common exchange of information and knowledge. To add on that, access to the Internet should be available and affordable to all persons in Africa without discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Do you know your rights as an internet user? On the 15th of December from 5pm – 8pm at the Nailab, BAKE will be hosting an event on the African Declaration on Internet rights and freedoms.