Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Attorney General wants clarity on cybersecurity

by Staff reporter
26 Jul 2018 at 07:20hrs | Views
ATTORNEY General Advocate Prince Machaya has said there is a need to balance the interests of the State and people's constitutional rights as too much government involvement in cybersecurity has the potential to infringe on citizens' rights.

He said this while referring to the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill currently being crafted.

Adv Machaya, speaking at the Law Society Winter School in Victoria Falls last Friday, said the Bill is not clear in its definition of cybersecurity.

"The need for cybersecurity cannot be underestimated. This, itself, is what invites greater government involvement in the regulation of the internet. It is government involvement which potentially impinges on the protection of individual rights as they are recognised both nationally and internationally," said Adv Machaya.

He said rights involved include freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of association and the right to privacy.

"My concern is principally that outlined in Section 114 (4) of the Constitution to promote, protect and uphold the rule of law and to defend the public interest. The Bill is not helpful in clarifying the extent to which it will achieve its stated purpose. It doesn't define what cybersecurity is and limits itself to defining cybercrime.

"Literature published on this subject suggests that cybersecurity is ultimately about protecting government and corporate networks, seeking to make it difficult for hackers to find and exploit vulnerabilities," said Adv Machaya.

The winter school focused on the risks of intrusion and unlawful use while at the same time balancing such protection with the need to uphold and protect human rights of users of the internet.

"At the end of the day it is the extent to which the Bill seeks to achieve this balance which will determine its constitutionality," said Adv Machaya.

He said if information is used in the interests of humanity the possibility is open to restore certain types of resources that humankind has unwisely squandered.

The AG said while information technology is the answer to numerous challenges associated with the pre-information age, cybercrime on the other hand tends to focus more on protecting individuals and families as they navigate online.

He said the constitutional right to privacy is under threat in the global information age where everyone's personal information is common property.

It is in this context that government published the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill which is yet to go to Parliament, highlighted Adv Machaya.

The Bill seeks among other functions to establish a cyber security centre, enhance evidence based investigation of cyber crime, administer electronic evidence, curb cyber crime and increase cybersecurity in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies.

Adv Machaya said cybersecurity should ensure protection of infrastructure and emergency services from unlawful intrusion.

This is critical and essential not only to the nation's economy but also to its security and defence, which are targeted by terrorists, spies, criminals or disgruntled employees.

Law Society of Zimbabwe president Mr Misheck Hogwe said the internet has become a double edged sword, bringing both positive and negative achievements in the legal fraternity. He said cybercrimes such as transaction fraud, hacking and piracy are on the rise while client confidentiality has been compromised.

Source - chronicle