Cybercrime Bill under scrutiny

HARARE - The Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill has come under heavy scrutiny with stakeholders raising concerns over some sections that give the State power to spy on citizens.

A panicky Zanu PF — that is faced with rising protests has proposed a raft of measures to curb what it calls cyber terrorism and among them the controversial Bill that is likely to sail through given Zanu PF parliamentary majority.

Speaking at a workshop that was hosted by the Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT) on Thursday last week, Veritas legal representative, Kuda Hove said views from across the board should be considered first before the Bill is passed.

“Some of the wording needs to be changed as it does not tally with what we have in Zimbabwe. There is also the issue of some sections of the Bill, the issue of key stroke logging, which is basically spyware which records everything that is typed on a computer.

“Composition of the Cyber Crime Management Centre board also needs to be revised to ensure that all sectors are represented. As well as having the relevant and well trained people on the board,” he said.

The Bill, that opposition parties say is aimed at controlling the social media and prevent an Arab Spring in Zimbabwe, aims to criminalise the abuse of social media and will also purportedly  protect citizens and the State from cyber terror.

ZICT chairperson Jacob Mtisi said the workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to contribute to a key law.

Information and Technology permanent secretary Sam Kundishora said there was indeed need for further consultations and engagements.

“I agree that sometimes regulations impede innovations but there are other issues that we must admit we are not good at as a country. Sometimes we are very quick to blame than to accept, regulation is very good.

“We all come from different families and I am sure you all have some views that are important. There are rules that you must adhere to in homes and companies. There are, however, some who are stubborn.

“As a country, there are also rules and once you adhere to them life becomes easier. Regulations that facilitate are welcome. When we bring in issues such as this one we are saying as you do your innovation do it in a responsible manner. We are not trying to stifle you. We want to see innovation in all sectors but done responsibly. We will try by all means to minimise and be lenient through consultations,” Kundishora said.

In its current form, the Cybercrime Bill has sections that empower police to confiscate gadgets that are used in carrying out, digitally, anything deemed as a criminal activity.

The Bill is also aiming at ensnaring Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and would ensure that offenders are brought home for trial.

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