Zimbabwe tightens police access to telecommunications data
The Parliamentary Legal Portfolio Committee withdrew its adverse report in the National Assembly on 10th July 2014 following the repeal of the unconstitutional Statutory Instrument (SI) 142/2013 which dealt with establishment and access of telecommunications subscriber information.
Section 13 of SI 95/2014 gazetted on 13 June 2014 annulled SI 142/2013 of the Postal and Telecommunications (Subscriber Registration) Regulations.
Although the new regulations now in force under SI 95/2014 are basically similar to the now repealed SI 142/2013, there are two fundamental changes with respect to sections 9 and 10 both of which relate to access to information from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) database.
Section 9(2) of the repealed SI 142/2013 allowed POTRAZ to provide information from its central database to a law enforcement agent if it had received a prior written request from an official of the law enforcement agency with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police, or equivalent rank in any other law enforcement agency.
The amended section 9(2) under SI 95/2014 requires a prior written request from an official of the law enforcement agency.
The fundamental difference lies in the fact that, under the latter scenario the law enforcement agent has to be “in possession of a warrant or court order to obtain such information”.
Under section 10 (1), there is an amendment by addition of the word “statistical”, which restricts the provision of data to access relating only to “statistical” subscriber information for approved research purposes.
For more information contact:
Nyasha Nyakunu, Senior Programmes Officer, MISA Zimbabwe
Telefax: +263 4 776165/746838
Cell: +263 712 602 448
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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.