The Zimbabwe Internet Governance Forum (ZIGF) kicked off yesterday, with Deputy Minister Hon. J Muswere opening the forum. The Forum, under the theme of a “The Internet We Want”, discussed proposed regulatory frameworks, global trends, potential risks, and good and bad practices which have been adopted or are under discussion in Zimbabwe.
ZIGF can also be viewed as a pressure or advocacy group that offers an opportunity to promote a Zimbabwean perspective on digital technology, with regard to digital governance. ZIGF is important because it facilitates discussions between the government, private companies, the technical community, and civil society organizations dealing with or interested in public policy issues relating to Internet governance.
What was discussed on the first day?
Child Online Protection
Quite a number of children have been victims of online criminals globally and with the increasing usage of internet in Zimbabwe, more children in Zimbabwe will be vulnerable. So POTRAZ as the regulator will come up with an updated and improved child online protection guidelines for children, parents, guardians, and educators New, industry and policymakers that suit Zimbabwe.
The information age is enabling Zimbabwe (and companies world over) companies to collect data from their customers. The emergence of the data economy is not immune to abuse by elements of society with ulterior motives. The story of the first day at ZIGF was what policies should Zimbabwean policymakers come up with to protect citizens’ data?
As more people get access to the internet across Zimbabwe, organizations and businesses are increasing their online presence but there are questions about how secure these website and platforms are. It is estimated that 80% of all personal computers in Africa are infected with viruses and other malicious software. It was concluded that Zimbabwe will need to build the technical and financial capacity needed to target, monitor and thwart illicit online activities. Zimbabwe has to have enough trained professionals, and political will to tackle the threat of cyber crimes.
Cyber laws in Zimbabwe
Among the numerous threats posed to Zimbabwean businesses by cybercrime, is the unlawful acquisition or interference with sensitive data relating to their clientele or business operations, and cyber fraud, in particular, wire transfer fraud. All these unlawful acts must be deterred by coming up with legislation. Therefore, there is a need for speedy implementation of the Cyber Crime Bill, Electronic Transactions Bill, and the Data Protection Bill.