The recently drafted Cyber crime, cyber security and data protection bill has been approved by cabinet. It is yet to be tabled before parliament for approval before being passed into law. There have been a lot of unfounded rumours about the bill. Here are facts surrounding implementation of the bill and it’s interpretation.
The bill seeks to protect citizens from cyber bulling. It has provisions for pemlties for distribution of false information . This means penalties for persons who distribute data concerning an identifiable person fully aware that it is not true.
The bill is also aimed at curbing transmission of pronographic material. This has become a common trend in Zimbabwe with young children after being exposed to such explicit stuff.
Another major component to the bill is data protection with due regards to constitutional rights and public and interest. More often than not, issues of constitutional rights such as the right to privacy are abused.
The bill will provide for penalties for those who transmit information to incite violence and public unrest. This particular provision has been frowned upon by many who have claimed that it is one way of government trying to have control over opposition politics? Essentially what this provision entails is that those who organize demonstrations online or speak out such as the Tajamuka movement and others will be barred from publishing messages that incite people to be violent.
The bill also seeks to push for the admission of electronic evidence for cyber offences. An establishment of Data security centre and a Data protection authority and provision who control the codes of conduct and observe cyber sites has been advocated for in the bill.
Many people have professed fears that the bill might be abused by the government and might be used as a tool to thwart any form of opposition. However, the bill might yield positive results in terms of protecting people from being bullied online or having false information circulated about their lives. Thanks Bill will work mostly in favour of celebrities who often have to bear the brunt of being humilitaed online with false information being shared about them.