Cabinet announced the approval of the Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, which is said to help fight against cyber related crimes, as the nation moves towards building confidence and trust in cyber communications.
The approval of the Bill was announced by the acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mangaliso Ndlovu at a weekly post cabinet briefing.
“Cabinet also considered and approved the Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill which was presented by minister of justice Legal Parliamentary Affairs,” Ndlovu stated. “The bill seeks to combat cybercrime and increase cyber security in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information communication technologies.”
The bill is replete with various sections that addresses different ways cybercrime can be committed. The approved Bill does not only detect the use of communications channels by the users but also for the providers of telecommunication services.
“Provision and approval of codes of conduct and ethics to be observed by all categories of data controllers. Data Protection with due regard to constitutional rights and public interest under POTRAZ,” Ndlovu added.
Approval of the Bill comes at a time when Zimbabwe has dedicated the month of October for Cyber awareness campaign, so as to enlighten citizens on safe surfing. Government will have a Data Centre in accordance with the Bill as well as a Data Protection Authority.
“Establishment of a Data Security Centre and a Data Protection Authority,” is a priority project to be undertaken by the government.
The Authority in charge of the execution and demands of the Bill will have the power on “investigation and collection of evidence relating to Cyber Crime and unauthorized Data Collection and breaches thereof,” Ndlovu explained.
“Penalties for offences committed under the Act Penalties for the transmission of data messages inciting violence and damage to property,” Ndlovu mentioned. “Penalties for persons who generate, distribute or broadcast data concerning an identifiable person knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic harm.”
During the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Zimbabwe’s social media platforms where awash with derogating elements in form of texts, visuals and pictures, as such the Bill seeks to combat sharing of information that will incite xenophobia.
“Measures to address the production and dissemination of racist and xenophobic material using language that tends to lower the reputation or feelings of persons for the reason that they belong to a group of persons distinguished on the grounds set out in the Constitution Section 56 subsection 3 of the constitution,” Ndlovu highlighted.
The main aims of the Bill is to make internet and cyber-platforms a safe place for all, where the rights of a citizen is not infringed by others.
“In essence, the Bill advocates the use of ICTs for more constructive purposes,” Ndlovu concluded.
SADC News Zimbabwe Correspondent