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E-mail spying Bill drafted
March 17, 2006

The Zimbabwean government has drafted a Bill to spy into telephone and e-mail messages while making it compulsory for service providers to instal the enabling equipment on behalf of the state.

The proposed law, the Interception of Communications Bill 2006, seeks to empower the chief of defence intelligence, the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation, the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to intercept telephonic, e-mail and cellphone messages.

The Bill also empowers state agencies to open mail passing through the post and through licensed courier service providers.

This comes despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 which declared unconstitutional Sections 98 and 103 of the Posts and Telecommunications (PTC) Act because they violated Section 20 of the Constitution.

Section 20 guarantees freedom of expression, freedom to receive and impart ideas without interference with one’s correspondence.

The Bill stipulates that operators of telecommunications services will be compelled to install software and hardware to enable them to intercept and store information as directed by the state.

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