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  • Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles

  • Revised spying Bill fails test
    April 27, 2007

    The revised version of the controversial Interception of Communications Bill has again failed to pass the democratic threshold after the government conceded that the spying bill is still as draconian as the original.

    The government first withdrew the Bill which was gazetted on 26 May 2007 after strong criticism from the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) forcing it to come up with the revised version.

    Chairman of the PLC Professor Welshman Ncube told the weekly Financial Gazette that the government had again undertaken to make fresh amendments to the revised Bill that was before the legal committee.

    MISA-Zimbabwe maintains and insists that the revised version remains a retrogressive and repressive piece of legislation which has no place in a democratic society.

    The proposed law 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 seeks to create a monitoring centre whose function will be to facilitate authorised interception of communications.

    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 makes it compulsory for service providers to install at their expense software and hardware to enable them to intercept and store information as directed by the state.

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