President Uhuru Kenyatta signs privacy data bill into law for consumer protection

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Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta inspects a guard of honour as he arrives at the Parliament buildings on April 4, 2019 for the State of address to the nation. (Photo by Simon MAINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE – The Amazon Web Services (AWS) logo, a division of Amazon.com’s US e-commerce group. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday signed into law Data Protection Bill in order to enhance consumer privacy.

Kenyatta said in a statement that according to the new data law, Kenya establishes the office of the Data Commissioner and sets out the requirements for the protection of personal data processed by both public and private entities.

“It further outlines key principles that will govern data processing, sets out the rights of data subjects and assigns duties to data controllers and data processors,” said Kenyatta.

Experts say the East African nation lacks a comprehensive data protection even as the country moves towards becoming a digital economy.

In addition to setting the conditions for the transfer of personal data outside Kenya, the Act provides for the exemptions to processing of data and outlines data handling offenses and attendant penalties.

Some of the provisions of the law will be an obligation that companies to be required to get consumers consent before selling their data to third parties.

Meanwhile, Kenyatta held talks with visiting executives of Amazon Web Services (AWS), an enterprise of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon that offers cloud computing services.

During the meeting, AWS vice-president Teresa Carlson lauded Kenya for the passage of the new data law and informed him of Amazon’s plans to set up an “edge location” in Nairobi.

An edge location is where end-users access services located on AWS. Carlson said the new data law paves the way for the organization’s investment that will enable Nairobi to join other global cities as an edge location.

She said her organization will also provide training in digital skills and help in the creation of quality jobs for the youth in Kenya.

During the meeting, Kenyatta welcomed the establishment of an edge location in the country by AWS and assured that Kenya has the requisite infrastructure and educated young population that will benefit from the business opportunities and jobs that will be created.

“Kenya is an innovator in digital financial services in Africa. Having advanced cloud infrastructure in the country will support our ability to flourish as a nation and reach our potential as one of Africa’s fastest-growing digital economies,” said Kenyatta.

He noted that the investment by Amazon will help strengthen Kenya’s position as a regional business hub.

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