Home 9 News 9 Letter to Speaker of National Assembly: Increase in collection of personal information in the absence of adequate data privacy legislation

Letter to Speaker of National Assembly: Increase in collection of personal information in the absence of adequate data privacy legislation

4 Dec, 2018
MISA Zimbabwe writes to you to express its concern over the rise in the local use of surveillance technology and equipment in the absence of adequate and clear data privacy legislation.

3 December 2018

Honourable Advocate Jacob Mudenda
Speaker of the National Assembly Parliament of Zimbabwe
Nelson Mandela Avenue
HARARE

Dear Sir,

RE: INCREASE IN COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION IN THE ABSENCE OF ADEQUATE DATA PRIVACY LEGISLATION

MISA Zimbabwe writes to you to express its concern over the rise in the local use of surveillance technology and equipment in the absence of adequate and clear data privacy legislation.

Equipment such as the traffic cameras installed in parts of Bulawayo collects vast amounts of data that sometimes include personally identifying information.

The same goes for the undefined facial recognition equipment reportedly acquired from China and the cybersecurity equipment that Japan recently pledged to Zimbabwe.

While MISA Zimbabwe concedes to the fact that the Zimbabwean cyberspace must be protected, it is our respectful submission that such protection of the local cyberspace must be within the confines of and not unjustifiably encroach on the universal human rights principles and the Zimbabwean Constitution.

Section 57 of the Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. This right to privacy includes protection from excessive and unjustified State surveillance.

MISA Zimbabwe respectfully contends that privacy provisions found in the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) fall short of the privacy principles espoused in the Constitution. There is, therefore, need to gazette privacy legislation that will adequately protect citizen data from over-surveillance at the hands of the State.

Another point of concern is the lack of transparency around the acquisition of this cybersecurity equipment and the conditions under which it is sold to Zimbabwe.

For example, Zimbabweans woke up to read that Zimbabwe would send vast amounts of biometric and personal data to CloudWalk Technology, a Chinese based entity that is providing Zimbabwe with facial recognition technology. This is a violation of people’s right to privacy because no one had knowledge of or consented to the cross-border transfer of their data.

The lack of transparency and information around these deals is against the spirit of good governance and basic principles governing public administration as enshrined in sections 9(1) and 194 (1) (f) and (h) of the Constitution.

MISA Zimbabwe, therefore, urges Parliament to exercise its oversight function by examining how the acquisition and use of unspecified surveillance equipment will influence or curb the lawful enjoyment of the fundamental rights to privacy and free expression.

Yours Sincerely

Golden Maunganidze
Chairperson

 

CC: Hon. C. Hwende: Chairperson Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on ICT and Cyber Security

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) 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.

Share this

Related news

Prosecutor-General challenges Chin’ono’s acquittal

Prosecutor-General challenges Chin’ono’s acquittal

Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi has reportedly filed an application for rescission of the acquittal of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono by the High Court on charges of publishing falsehoods. This comes after High Court judge Justice Charehwa had ruled that the charge...

Zimbabwe falls on world media freedom index

Zimbabwe falls on world media freedom index

Zimbabwe has been ranked at 130 out of 180 countries in 2021 compared to its ranking at 126 in 2020, new rankings by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) show. In the report, RSF said the rankings showed that the page had not been turned from the late former President...

Malawi man arrested over Facebook post

Malawi man arrested over Facebook post

A Malawi man has been arrested over a Facebook post in which he allegedly advised his compatriots to continuously check their bank accounts as money was being stolen in financial institutions. Ignatius Kamwanje was arrested over a Facebook post that money had gone...

Regional leaders need to reaffirm commitment to Windhoek Declaration

Regional leaders need to reaffirm commitment to Windhoek Declaration

Thirty years after the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration, media stakeholders are once again meeting in Namibia, where they seek to update the seminal document that laid the foundation of World Press Freedom Day. This year’s celebrations are being held under the...