Feeds

Zimbabwe debates 'oppressive' bugging laws

If you thought RIPA was bad...

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.