PEN Open Letter on Cyber Security Bill - July 2020

Zimbabwe: cybersecurity bill falls short of international standards

The government of Zimbabwe has developed a Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill that merges cybersecurity and data protection which suffers from a range of shortcomings. PEN International joins PEN America and human rights and civil society organisations in calling on the government of Zimbabwe to review the country's proposed Bill to ensure it conforms to regional standards and international legal frameworks.

Dear Speaker of Parliament, Hon Advocate Jacob Mudenda,

The undersigned group of civil society organisations who work to promote and defend freedom of expression and information as a fundamental right worldwide, are writing to express our concern over the gazetted Zimbabwean Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill.

While the government has taken a bold step in developing a Bill that establishes a regulatory framework for the ICT sector, the merging of cybersecurity and data protection into a single piece of legislation will make it challenging to strike a strategic balance between security concerns and digital rights. In its current form, the proposed Bill has a number of significant shortcomings that do not meet international standards on protecting privacy and personal data, and, therefore, risk undermining the purpose and scope of the law.

 

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