Feeds

Zimbabwe debates 'oppressive' bugging laws

If you thought RIPA was bad...

The next step in data security

Proposed telecoms interception laws in Zimbabwe have created a furore with the government apparently awarding itself unlimited snooping powers.

The Interception of Communications Bill, the topic of hearings before the African country's Parliament on Wednesday, allows for email and phone interception warrants against targeted individuals that might be extended indefinitely, under the control of politicians and with little or no judicial oversight.

The bill also calls for the establishment of a monitoring centre, reportedly outfitted with bugging equipment supplied by China. Telecoms providers would be obliged to install snooping equipment onto their networks, linked to the proposed monitoring centre. ISPs, not the Zimbabwean government, would be forced to foot the bill.

The government says its proposals are needed for national security, in the fight against crime, and in line with measures introduced by other countries. Zimbabwean phone calls are already monitored, the BBC reports, so the bill essentially extends existing provisions for the internet age.

President Robert Mugabe's government has an abysmal human rights record, with laws that curtail movement and opposition against his regime. Criticism of the country's proposed telecoms interception laws has focused on the lack of judicial oversight. Earlier communications laws, which also lacked court oversight, were overturned by a Zimbabwean High Court in 2004 as unconstitutional.

"An aggrieved person is given a right to appeal to the minister (of Transport and Communications), who is neither independent nor impartial. He authorises the interception and monitoring in the first place," Wilbert Mandinde, legal officer of the Media Institute for Southern Africa in Zimbabwe, told the BBC.

Opposition parties joined in this criticism. "It seems to give carte blanche - the minister is the judge and the jury, it violates the whole concept of the separation of powers," said Jessie Majome, a legal advisor for opposition Movement for Democratic Change. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.