Govt defends Cybercrime Bill

Source: Govt defends Cybercrime Bill | The Herald February 9, 2017

The proposed Cybercrime Bill is not meant to undermine the right to use social media and other internet platforms, but seeks to protect information communication technology (ICT) users from theft and fraud, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday. Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the Bill also sought to fulfil the international obligations of Zimbabwe on cyber protection.

There have been concerns,

particularly from opposition parties and western sponsored civic groups, that the proposed cyber law was meant to stifle critics and activists who have been using the cyberspace to register their anger and frustration over perceived Government failures.

Minister Mandiwanzira said the Bill was not being crafted in response to last year’s wave of anti-Government protests organised via social media platforms.

He said the proposed law would be put in place to also promote accountability on social media and highlighted that input into the Bill was still welcome.

“This bill is a model law that was developed by the International Telecommunications Union in partnership with the European Union as well as Sadc countries which in November 2012 adopted this position that we must have within Sadc a harmonised cybercrime and computer crime law,” he said after a meeting British ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing.

“What Zimbabwe is doing is not unusual. I have (also) mentioned to the ambassador that the civic society that have come to her really have no reason to worry because we are taking into account all the concerns by Zimbabweans, they are still free to come because we haven’t even taken this Bill to Parliament.

“We have no intention to undermine the rights of Zimbabweans to use the cyberspace, but we have a very strong intention to protect those who use this, our children our society and our businesses.”

Ambassador Laing had indicated that it was important to strike a balance between protecting people from cybercrimes and observing their right to use social media.

“I was particularly interested to

see how his various Bills are progressing around cybercrime and so on. He assured me that they are progressing well and that he is seriously taking consultation with civil society about what they want to see in the Cybercrime Bill,” she said. — New Ziana.