The Parliament of Zimbabwe is expected to debate 3 pieces of draft legislation on cybercrime, electronic transactions and data protection as the government prepares to deal with increasing cyber threats.
The country is currently at the consultative stages of three bills related to ICT – the Computer Crime and Cyber Security Bill; the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill; and the Data Protection Bill.
Through the Ministry of ICT, the government has been engaging citizens and various stakeholders on the draft bill and entering suggestions and amendments in response to the concerns raised on the draft laws.
Speaking at the recent opening of Parliament, President Robert Mugabe cited the rising risk of cybercrime on a global scale and expressed hope that the current session of parliament would debate the draft ICT bills as a response to this.
Increasing reliance on the use of plastic money and other on-line applications, which characterises the modern era, comes with the attendant rising risk of computer and cyber crimes. As a consequence of this lingering threat, Governments, the world over, are grappling with the threat of cyber crime. As such, it is my fervent hope that this Fourth Session of Parliament will constructively and objectively debate the Computer Crime and Cyber Security Bill, the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill, and the Data Protection Bill, which will be tabled in this august House.
The President’s remarks are fairly generic in a world where cyber security is now a national threat in every country. In fact, they represent an increased awareness of technology’s impact on state security and Zimbabwe’s cognisance of that reality.
At the same time, these remarks also highlight the urgency that will likely be placed on the passing of these 3 draft bills into law as the government emphasises national security concerns.
It sounds like a positive response to real threats. However, with the way the government has been focused on curbing social media abuse (or rather what it terms as abuse – the wrong type of hacktivism or tweet can get you arrested) it also reflects how these bills will likely be rushed through parliament.
This means that of anyone has any issues with these bills its best to speak now and have those changes entered into the drafts. Once these draft laws get to parliament it will be too late.