by WELLINGTON TONI
HARARE, (ItNews Zimbabwe) – DELAYS in the enactment of the Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill (2019) means the citizens remain at the mercy of cyber criminals and others that abuse social media.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet passed the bill last October, representing an important step towards it becoming law, but Parliament still has to debate and approve it.
Analyst Jacob Mutisi, said the delays were worrisome.
“My biggest concern is the implementation of the Computer Crime and Cyber Security Bill. I feel this should immediately become law to protect our citizens from the constant violation of the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) laws that even our law enforcement agencies don’t even understand,” Mutisi told ItNews Zimbabwe in an interview.
The act, once it comes into effect, will penalise citizens who share offensive material on such social media outlets such as WhatsApp, which accounts for 50 percent of all internet use in Zimbabwe at the moment, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
It will also penalise the generation and distribution of “data concerning an identifiable person knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic” harm.
The bill “seeks to combat cyber-crime and increase cyber security” and to foster “data protection with due regard to constitutional rights and public interest.”
It also includes a provision for the setting up of a data protection authority and data security centre.
Social media was deemed to be one of the prime movers of the 2019 January uprisings against the government.
Mobile service provider Econet Wireless took Government to court over the blackout and won the case.
The government ordered a social media black-out
The rising cost of living, fuelled by cash shortages, inflation, expensive basic foodstuffs and fuel and electricity challenges prompted the mass action.
These problems have worsened, making the atmosphere rife for tensions.