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Internet Surveillance not peculiar to Zimbabwe

19 Aug 2016 at 07:47hrs | Views
Internet surveillance propounded by the Computers crimes and cyber crimes bill, is not peculiar to Zimbabwe. The global powers, like the US government, which claim to practice the most advanced democratic principles, are on indelible global record for incriminating Netizens like Julian Assange, who is the founder and author of wiki-leaks.  

Assange was accused of illegally leaking some secret state security and intelligence materials which have a negative bearing on the integrity of the US. Meanwhile Assange is on the run, and is believed to be hiding in asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom.

In another example, in the case: U.S. vs. Edward J. Snowden, the former levelled criminal complaint against the latter who was accused of espionage after leaking documents on the internet about a secret National Security Agency surveillance program. After the disclosure, Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor was granted asylum in Russia up to this day.

With the recent growth of social media in the past ten years as a new staple in our modern culture, social media or online participation has also emerged as a growing threat to national security everywhere. As the Internet and social media are constantly growing and changing, national security has lagged behind.

In this vein, national state security experts and policy makers must now adapt quickly to emerging threats or face major national security breaches to upset the status quo. Normatively, Computers crimes and cyber crimes bill is the beginning of such moves to regulate and mitigate the destructive nature of cyber participation by irresponsible citizens that have the propensity to go crazy with illegalities.

Social media is loosely defined as "Internet based application that enables people to communicate and share resources and information. Some examples of Social Media include blogs, discussion forums, chat rooms, wikis, YouTube channels, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media can be accessed by computer, smart and cellular phones, and mobile phone text messaging"   

Academic research has consistently found that people who consume more news have a greater probability of being civically and politically engaging across a variety of measures in an era when the public's time and attention is increasingly directed toward social media. Therefore, social media platforms have become a spring-board for illegalities apart from the good uses of social media in the contemporary societies. Nation states, therefore, have the natural obligation to protect their populations against perpetrators of online illegalities.

In recent times social websites have inspired some destructive mass movements and political unrests in many countries, such as, the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011 which rocked Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Social media was accused for being an effective mechanism for uniting riotous groups of hoodlums who have the insatiable desire to upset public peace to the detriment of society.

It is worth mentioning that Interpol says Cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime. Vast numbers of criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual, cause serious harm and pose very real threats to victims worldwide.

Some of the offences mentioned  include Aggravating Circumstances, illegal Access, illegal interception, illegal data interface, data espionage, illegal system interference, illegal devices, computer-related forgery, computer-related Fraud, child pornography, identity-related crimes, racist practices and xenophobic material, racist and xenophobic motivated insult, genocide and crimes against humanity, spam, disclosure of details of an investigation, failure to permit assistance, harassment utilizing means of electronic communication, violation of intellectual property rights, abetment and conspiracy.

Honestly, to the best of my opinion, no one is against criminalizing all of the above offences.
However, in spite all odds, the Computers crimes and cyber crimes bill provides many opportunities for e-governance and extensive consultation in order to incorporate public views.
Source - Sparkleford Masiyambiri
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