Africa’s Effort To Tackle Cybercrime Gains Momentum

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Written by Staff

By Michael Malakata | From IT World

Africa’s efforts to tackle cybercrime are gaining momentum as Tanzania joins African countries including Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya in coming up with a law that includes penalties of up 10 years in prison.

The law comes amid claims that Tanzania has one of the highest rates of cybercrime and social media abuse in Africa. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has already approved the Cyber Crimes Act of 2015, which becomes operational this week.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is already warning of tough actions against cybercriminals in the East African country as a result of the new law.

Critics have said however, that the Tanzanian law targets social media with the aim of regulating its use in order to silence divergent views and critics of the government.

Under the law, anyone found guilty of spreading lies, sedition and pornographic material through social media, including Facebook and Twitter, could go to prison for up to 10 years.

TCRA’s head of corporate communications, Innocent Mungy,  said that “Social media was targeted by the law because many reports on social media originating from Tanzania were not true and therefore not trusted by other countries around the world hence the need to halt the trend.”

Generally, African governments have not been fans of social media. Officials allege that on many occasions social media has been used to coordinate protests aimed at overthrowing governments plagued with poor leadership and economic problems.

Many African countries including Zambia have promised to introduce cybercrime laws that will also regulate the use of social media.

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