POSTAL and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Zimbabwe (Potraz) acting director-general Alfred Marisa told Parliament yesterday that they have started crafting security laws to curb abuse of cyber space by dubious bloggers such as Baba Jukwa.
Marisa made the disclosures when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information Communication Technology chaired by MDC-T Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa.
The committee had asked Marisa to explain if the country had sufficient legal instruments to deal with cyber-attacks as well as security threats that might crop up using social platforms such as WhatsApp.
“The country does not have sufficient legislation to deal with issues of social media like Baba Jukwa and there is no doubt about that,” Marisa said.
“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 is in the process of coming up with a model law.”
Potraz legal services director Cecilia Nyamutsa said they were crafting the Cyber Security Bill and the Electronic Transaction Bill which will deal with mobile money and the Data Protection Bill which will protect data that people give about themselves at places like banks and government departments.
“Cyber security is not easy to resolve because even at international level there are no laws to govern cyber crimes. Even if we do come up with the Cyber Security Bill and it becomes law we have to continue to develop it because technology is a fast developing field,” Nyamutsa said.
She said the Cyber Security Bill had already been forwarded to President Robert Mugabe’s office, which will be the parent ministry responsible for the law and not the Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services ministry headed by Webster Shamu.
Chamisa demanded to know why the Bill was placed under the president’s office and who was then going to submit reports before Parliament on behalf of Potraz.
Marisa said the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in the President’s office Didymus Mutasa would be responsible for tabling reports on Potraz before Parliament.
He added that 75% of inhabited areas in Zimbabwe had achieved mobile phone penetration while 25% (mainly game parks) were still uncovered.
“The main challenge we are facing is that we are still using techno-based licensing framework and we have to move to a converged licensing framework.
“There is also duplication of infrastructure and there is need to tighten guidelines to go into mandatory sharing of infrastructure.”