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Zimbabwe media group urges govt to respect data protection, freedom

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zimbabwe , 12 Mar 2021

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe says there is an urgent need for updated regulation to manage the acquisition, storage and transfer of data in the country.

Commenting on the recent launch of the national datacentre in Harare, the organisation urged the government to promote transparency and accountability regarding data in its custody.

It added that existing provisions in the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, gazetted in May 2020, have not yet been enacted and therefore cannot adequately protect data and the right to privacy.

MISA said it is imperative that citizens understand issues related to the acquisition, processing, use, distribution and storage of data, as well as the safety mechanisms to be introduced to protect the right to privacy.

The organisation asserted that this right is currently being impacted by several issues including the lack of control over personal data, as well as a lack of clarity as to who has access to personal data and how this data is processed.

A statement from MISA reads: “For instance, the Bill does not explicitly provide for the right of data subjects which rights include the right to rectification, the right to erasure or right to be forgotten, right to data portability among others. The Bill also does not have provisions on data retention periods and neither does it explicitly provides for data protection principles applicable to data controllers.”

Going forward, MISA said the government should also intensify implementation of the National Development Strategy, specifically as it pertains to human rights and freedom.

“In the strategy, the government expressed its intention to domesticate and comply with international and regional human rights obligations,” it said.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting has not responded to questions at the time of publishing.

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