Although it has been criticized for stifling the people’s constitutionally-assured right to freedom of expression through various internet-based platforms, if signed into law the Cyber Bill will be important to the country because there have been data breaches and abuse in the past decade.
Regulating and policing data breaches like hacking electronic transactions has become important as there has been little effort to address these concerns.
A hacker is an individual who uses computer, networking or other skills to overcome a technical problem, according to TechTarget. The term also may refer to anyone who uses their abilities to gain unauthorized access to systems or networks in order to commit crimes.
One of the interesting cases involves Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Deputy Minister, Tinoda Machakaire who recently lost R600 000 after his bank account was hacked. According to state paper The Herald the thieves also took control of his mobile line and blocked him and gave instructions to companies using the hacked mobile line.
It is alleged that at different intervals, the hackers used the minister’s mobile number to send instructions to his company, Tinmac Motors, to make payments to accounts in South Africa and also instructed some drivers of his fleet of trucks to take up commercial loads to various destinations around the country.
In April 2021, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) advised its stakeholders to disregard the posts being shared on its official Facebook page after hackers took over.
The ZIFA social media page, with 36 000 followers, was hacked and had its name changed to Zimbabwe Football.
Late last year, the Government was jolted by an unpleasant glitch during the Meteorological Services Department event on the National Climate Outlook Forum, after it was hacked by mischief makers, who posted pornographic material. The government then started working on developing a secure video conferencing and messaging application. This comes as Zoom is hosted and managed outside Zimbabwe, when notices to host meetings are distributed they might end up in wrong hands who might use such to get access to the meetings.
Hacker was first used in the 1960s to describe a programmer or an individual who, in an era of highly constrained computer capabilities, could increase the efficiency of computer code in a way that removed, or hacked, excess machine code instructions from a program. It has evolved over the years to refer to someone with an advanced understanding of computers, networking, programming or hardware.
Before its development the Cyber Bill, four different laws were signed several years ago including The Postal and Telecommunications Act, the Official Secrets Act, Interceptions of Communication Act and The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which provided regulations for cyberspace activities.
Various Bills including The Data Protection Bill, the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill and the Computer Crime and Cybercrimes Bill were all efforts to curb cybercrimes.
The Cyber Bill is therefore looking to harmonise all these in a single legislation, as it provides important updates regarding data protection. The Cyber Bill will be creating a cybersecurity center that will advise the government on policies relating to cybercrime and cybersecurity.
Gazetted in 2020, the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill aims to consolidate cyber-related offences and provide a data protection law for the citizens, the government, and corporate organizations. Cybersecurity has thus become a general concern for all citizens – professionals, politicians, and, more generally, all decision-makers – Harare