TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says those who are generally attacking the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Bill are just politicking as criminals are the ones who should be worried about its enactment.
A consortium of civil society organisations last week said the Bill provided several avenues for abuse of the cyber space by state organs adding that in its current form, the Bill fell short of several regional and international set standards.
But in an interview, Kafwaya said concerns about communication interception were misguided as there were already existing laws that allowed that, adding that the Bill was proposing a focus on crime prevention.
“You see, we already have laws which allow for checking on calls, the law is already there, in the current laws but the cyber-crime is focusing on crime, anti-crime. If you use internet or the cyber space for good reasons, there is no need to be apprehensive. I don’t see why you should be worried if your only reason for using internet is commerce, its information which is true, its good reasons then you don’t have to worry, it’s criminals who should be worried,” he said.
“The physical space we want it to be sanitised, we don’t want people coming into our homes to steal from us, to do all sorts of things, we don’t want that. Why should it be permissible on the cyber space, there is no reason.”
He added that those who will be implementing the law should focus on criminals and not go for innocent citizens.
“So my view is that you need to go for criminals, don’t go for innocent people who are using internet for good reasons. So don’t be worried if you are really a good user of internet, but if you are a criminal, be worried just like you should be worried when it comes to physical criminality,” Kafwaya said.
“My clear message to the Zambian public is that I join the government in ensuring that we make our country safe. Now, for the fact that this Bill which is so much talked about is talking about cyber security should not worry any well-meaning Zambian who wants to use the cyber space in a sane manner. But for those who want to use cyber space for wrong reasons, they should be concerned because they are the ones who will be targeted just like those who are using our physical environment in a bad way.”
He added that those who have been abused using the internet should draw comfort in knowing that government is doing something to stop it.
“So clearly, good citizens must be sure that they will be protected by this law and those who are being abused as well need to draw comfort that their government is doing something to stop abuse of innocent citizens,” he said.
And Kafwaya urged those with concerns over the contents of the Bill to make submissions and propose amendments that will be considered before the Bill is passed into law.
“Speaking against the bill generally I think is politicking on matters of national governance. I think that everyone wants a safe place. So I think if there are provisions which they are uncomfortable with, the Bills are not yet turned into law, meaning that there is still chance for people to bring proposed amendments, so come with those amendments so that as the process is going on, we can propose amendments instead of just talking generally and yet some of them might have not even seen how government is going to make people’s lives safer,” said Kafwaya.