Last year, the government of Zimbabwe passed the Data Protection Act to support cybersecurity and fight cybercrime. The act was designed to provide better data protection, which in turn, will gain the confidence of the internet users to use ICT for handling their days. The original act went through many revisions ensuring that it can benefit the different stakeholders. The Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill aims to punish the people who misuse and abuse the internet, social media and communication network. In addition to that, it aims to support the financial digital system of Zimbabwe for better protection and efficiency. It was a long-awaited protection bill to fight cyber crimes in the country. In addition to that, it was also necessary to protect both the personal and commercial data of internet users.Why The Cyber Security And Data Protection Act Was Passed?
Zimbabwe is a member of the international community and it is a known fact that cybercrime knows no border. Therefore, the government felt the need to introduce the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill. By introducing this act, Zimbabwe is contributing at an international level to fight cybercrimes. Also, considering the fact that cybercrime is borderless, it was important for the government to take the best practices to fight cybercrime both from the regional and international players. However, for ensuring full protection against cybercrime, the individuals also need to contribute to the fight along with the government. For instance, an individual can keep their browser and system updated to minimize the security loopholes. You can check the current version of your system and browser in What Is My IP. Along with that, people should be encouraged to maintain digital hygiene in the form of staying safe from phishing emails and having strong passwords. The bill also aims to consolidate the offences related to cyberspace. Also, it looks forward to improving transparency and accountability of the public and private entities when it comes to collecting and using the data of the users.How Useful Is The Cyber Security And Data Protection Act?
To give a safe cyberspace environment to internet users, the bill now allows the use of electronic evidence in court. Also, it aims at creating a technology-driven business environment for the entrepreneurs of the country. Thanks to the act, it is believed that the Cyber Security Center and Data Protection Authority will be established soon. According to the law, it is illegal to send messages on the internet that can incite violence in the country. In addition to that, sending messages to someone with the intent to harm them or the people that they know is a crime. Further, the act also declares cyber-bullying and harassment as offensive. Other things which will be considered a crime under this act include spreading false information to cause harm, sharing intimate images without consent, and producing racist and xenophobic material. Child pornography and exposing children to pornography is also a crime. In addition to that, sending spam messages is altogether banned.
The objectives of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Act clearly indicates that the government of Zimbabwe is taking cybercrimes in a strong manner, which is the need of the hour, for sure. With this act, the government is introducing laws in cyberspace to create a more peaceful space online along with encouraging a technology-driven environment for the business. Special importance is given to data breaches and abuse to safeguard the fundamental human rights of the citizen.
Previously, the government has introduced laws like the Postal and Telecommunication Act, Official Secrets Act, Interceptions of Communication Act and Criminal Law to address the cybercrimes. However, these laws were confusing because there were too many. With the current Cyber Security and Data Protection Act, all the previous laws and acts are consolidated under a single legislation.
The Data Protection Act is a welcome move in the country which was long overdue. The current digital age demands such acts and bills in the country to provide a safe online space to its citizens. Hopefully, such acts and bills will reduce the cybercrimes in the country and encourage the people to use the different spaces of the online world in a safe manner without the intent of harming anyone.