Monday, September 25, 2006

The problems with Zim's internet

Ethan Zuckerman has a fantastic post about his recent trip to Zimbabwe, and the real story about the Internet outage there and the proposed Internet wiretapping law:
There’s a bill pending in Zimbabwe’s parliament - the Interception of Communications Bill - which would establish a government center for the interception of communications: email, web page downloads, instant messaging, financial transactions, as well as postal mail and courier services. The Chief of the Defence Intelligence, the Director-General of the President’s department on national security, the Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority would be able to apply to the Minister of Transport and Communications to intercept communications - requests will be granted if the minister has reason to believe “a serious offence has been or is being or will probably be committed or that there is threat to safety or national security of the country.”

To comply with the bill, Internet Service Providers would - at their own cost - have to install hardware and software to allow such communication interception to take place. Because of the financial burden this would put on providers - and because they’re concerned about the loss of privacy of Internet users - ZISPA is challenging the bill and has written a detailed response to the bill.

Link (Thanks, Ethan!)

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