THE Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, passed without debate in Senate last week, was revoked after it was discovered that it had an error and the Bill must now go through the committee stage and then the third reading again in the Senate so the errors are corrected before it can be safely signed into law.
If signed into law, it will provide for the investigation and collection of evidence for cybercrime and data breaches, allowing the admissibility of electronic evidence by courts.
This Bill is especially important given that data breaches or abuse disregard several fundamental human rights and could lead to many unforeseen challenges if treated carelessly. However, a provision to criminalise false information has generated debate although what the law desires in this area is regulation of the use of internet and social media to curb computer crimes such as distributing porn0graphy and electronic financial fraud.
Last week, deputy president of the Senate, Michael Nyambuya, announced that the Bill had been referred back to the committee stage in the Senate for further debate as there was an error.
Amendments have to be proposed, debated and passed for any legislation in the committee stage, which is between the second and third readings. The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe recommended that the Bill be broken up into three separate laws on cyber security, electronic transactions and data protections since these three areas were so different it was difficult to have a coherent single law covering all three areas.
In its submissions to Parliament on the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, Misa Zimbabwe said the proposed law constituted several complex issues that should not be addressed as a single law.