Monday, 20 October 2008

Eavesdropping Law

Further to my post about mobile phone registers I've come across an interesting piece of information about another country that has the power to monitor its citizens communications. It appears the British Government scheme is actually more draconian than one introduced by that arch defender of democracy, Robert Mugabe.

In 2004 the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe declared Mugabe’s “Posts and Telecommunications Act unconstitutional as it violated freedom of expression. Mugabe hit back with a new bill, The Interception of Communications Bill, in 2006 to "monitor and intercept certain communications in the course of their transmission,".

Known as the ‘eavesdropping law' Mugabe claimed it was necessary in order to deal with the emergence of more sophisticated forms of corruption and crimes such as electronic money laundering, fraudulent electronic transfer of funds, dissemination of offensive materials and even cyber-terrorism.

Actually Mugabe was less ambitious than the British Government. The UK is setting up a scheme to monitor ALL mobile phone and Internet communications as standard practise. The Zimbabwe Act cut out the Courts and the legal process completely but didn’t give a blanket permission to snoop as it still required a warrant for specific interception to be obtained from the Minister of Transport and Communications.

You couldn't make it up could you! Zimbabwe having more liberal surveillance laws than the UK!

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