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Regulator blames legislative gaps for 'compromising' Zimbabwe's cyber security

By , Journalist
Zimbabwe , 26 Aug 2014

Regulator blames legislative gaps for 'compromising' Zimbabwe's cyber security

Zimbabwe's legislative framework is compromising the country's cyber-security efforts, the country's telecommunications regulatory watchdog claimed on Monday.

Zimbabwe last year battled to contain a supposed mole in President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party who splashed sensational state secrets and other confidential information about government ministers on the popular Facebook page, Baba Jukwa.

Edmund Kudzai, editor of state-owned Sunday paper The Sunday Mail is among a handful of people, including his brother, who have been fingered as being behind the Baba Jukwa page, but they deny the accusations.

And paying closer attention to this debacle, Zimbabwean parliamentarians on Monday demanded to know from Alfred Marisa, the director general of the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz), why the country has been allegedly compromised in dealing with cyber security issues.

"The country does not have sufficient legislation to deal with issues of social media like Baba Jukwa and there is no doubt about that," he said in response.

After this realisation, Zimbabwean lawmakers plan to craft a cyber security bill and another electronic transaction law. The electronic transfers bill will seek to protect data provided by citizens when carrying out transactions.

"There has been work carried out to actually come up with cyber security laws, including data laws and those are at bill stage and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is in the process of coming up with a model law," added Marisa.

The director for legal services at Potraz, Cecilia Nyamutsa, explained to the Zimbabwean parliamentary portfolio committee on communications that "cyber-security is not easy to resolve because even at international level there are no laws to govern cyber-crimes".

She said this situation called for continuous development on cyber security laws as "technology is a fast developing field".

President Robert Mugabe's office is now in receipt of the cyber security bill. The bill will soon be tabled in parliament, officials say.

Last month, Zimbabwean Vice President, Joice Mujuru urged African countries to be adequately prepared to deal with growing and complex cyber security threats.

"African countries need to boost preparedness to growing cyber threats. Children and other vulnerable people are at risk," she said in an address at a conference of the African Telecommunications Union hosted in Harare.

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