Analysis Bill tracker CyberBill watch Legal Opinion

Our legislation needs to be in Sync with Technology 

By Nkosikhona P Sibanda 

Apple Inc announced its new range of iPhones, at their autumn product launch held at the  Steve Jobs theater in California at the United State of America on Tuesday last week.

The product launch is an event where they showcase new technological advancements as a means of competing with other technological giants like Huawei which released the much hyped  P30 in March this year.

Apple has added 3 new phones to its line up of products, namely the iPhone 11 , iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 is the cheapest new Apple phone since the iPhone 8 available at $699.

The iPhone 11 has a number of great features such as  a dual camera it comes in 6 colours with 6.1 inch liquid retina display, spatial audio , supports Dolby Atmos for sound and a dual camera that supports night mode.

Some of the features in the current line up of phones show Apple’s commitment to safeguard user privacy. This is a welcome development since privacy is a fundamental right protected in international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and even our own constitution. 

Furthermore at it`s  WorldWide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June Apple Inc unveiled its own Single Sign-On (SSO) service, also referred to as “ Sign in with Apple” to compete with Facebook and Google`s services with the promise that it won’t use the user’s information to sell ads or track them. 

Some of the privacy enhancing features are the passcode and the improved version of the face ID which was first introduced to Apple phones in 2017.

Face ID error rate decreased from 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 500,000 with an alternate appearance registered in iOS 13.In the past Face ID has been fooled by identical twins, children, and a carefully crafted mask, but it’s still secure enough that the average person shouldn’t worry about their iPhone being unlocked by someone else.

It is important for more manufacturers to factor in the protection of privacy at the design stage this is because legislation always lags behind technology .

With the fast pace in technological developments all over the world, governments have  to constantly update laws regulating ICT usage to ensure that the laws are in sync with technology.

In Zimbabwe currently there are 3 laws that regulate ICT usage and these are the Interceptions of Communications Act of 2007, part xi of the Postal Telecommunications Act of 2000 and part viii of the Criminal Law Act of 2004.

This demonstrates that there is a need to amend these laws because they were promulgated at  a time when most Zimbabweans had not yet started using mobile phones for internet services with the last law being enacted in 2007.

On the other hand, in  countries that have enacted ICT legislation governments end up controlling and limiting the enjoyment of free expression and access to information online.  

The Ministerial draft of the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill of 2017, is an example of a law that might limit the enjoyment of digital rights as the  draft bill proposed a range of penalties that are generally too harsh.

Furthermore, the result of this would be a general fear and exercise of self censorship therefore a limited enjoyment of freedom of expression online. 

Citizens and Netizens are to be mindful of these regulations as they might be instruments that can prevent the enjoyment of democratic rights guaranteed in our constitution. 

 In a study done by Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)in 2018 it was discovered that only 22 African Countries  have enacted comprehensive personal data protection legislation meaning they are 32 other other African countries with no such legislation.

What these governments including our own are doing is exposing Citizens data to exploitation and misuse by these technological giants leaving the fate of netizens in the hands of these companies.

More time and effort has to be put into these laws, amending them and making sure they are in sync with current technology and ensuring most of all that they are aligned to the country’s 2013 Constitution.