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Cyber laws pose a threat to human rights – CiSCA

By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) says it is concerned about the violations of freedoms embedded in the Cyber Crimes Bill 2021.

CISCA Chairperson Judith Mulenga said the Bill that the PF Government wants to pass as law in its current form, has a number of provisions that infringe on freedom of expression, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, to mention but a few.

Ms Mulenga said that there are several provisions in The Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Bill, 2021 which pose a threat to human rights.

She said the Zambian Constitution in Article 17 provides for the ‘Protection for privacy of home and other property.  Except with his own consent, no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises.

“ But section 29 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Bill dispenses with the need to obtain a warrant for the interception of communication. A law enforcement officer is free to act without authority from a court or judge and intercept communication and then inform the judge after the event. This proposed provision lends itself to abuse, impunity and is ultra vires to Articles 11, 17, 18(a) and of course the overarching Article 19.

Ms Mulenga said without a doubt a law which permits the interception of any communication to or from the sender for purposes of determining the sender’s location cannot and does not allow the right to freedom of movement or the right to privacy.

She said the Cyber Security And Cyber Crimes Bill, 2021 makes a demand, in section 38, on electronic communication service providers to invest in electronic communication systems that would enable them to monitor fulltime and in real time and to intercept communications of its subjects.

Ms Mulenga said CiSCA, propose that the cause, or reason for the Bill should be discussed by several stakeholders where the government will provide evidence and extent of cybercrimes in Zambia.

The Independent Observer

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