The African Union Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace uses some terms that are really technical. In fact part 1 of the convention deals with definition of terms used in the convention. However, to fully grasp the intended objectives of this convention one needs to delve into the vices it seeks to wipe out of the African continent.
First things first the definition of Cybersecurity;
This refers to the technologies and processes designed to protect computers, networks and data from unauthorized access, vulnerabilities and attacks delivered via the Internet by cyber criminals.
Cybersecurity is what this convention intends to achieve however, in the process of doing so it has interfered with some fundamental rights and freedoms hence the reason we are having this petition.
Cyber crime and its different manifestations
Cyber crime Continue reading
Accessing the net I Picture coutersy of NMG
Our petition iniative made it to the Sunday Nation! Here is the link
to the article by Lilian Ochieng’.
However, the article got some few things wrong which we would like to clarify.
The article got the name of Centre for Intellectual Property & Information Technology wrong. Other, clarification is that m/s Marcela Sinda is the Project lead of this petition initiative.
Lastly, Centre for Intellectual Property & Information Technology is headed by Dr. Isaac Rutenberg.
Enoakpa Nkongho identifies five main drawbacks contained in the draft African Union Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace. In a journal paper titled the case for a pan African Solution to Cyber-crime: A critical Review of the Draft AU convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace Mr. Enoakpa fronts the following five main arguments which should form a basis for halting the passage of the draft in its current form.
The AU draft contains clauses that will result in;
1. Violation of the right to privacy.
2. Violation of the right to freedom of expression
3. Legislation overkill especially the unjustified burden the law will have on the individual
4. Similarly there shall be an unjustified burden on corporations as a result of legislative overkill in the AUDCCSC
5. The granting of absolute powers of judges: This will form a basis for unjust civil liberties curtailment and for procedural flaws in the AU draft convention
In each of the above arguments Mr. Enoakpa goes to great lengths to list down the provisions contained in the draft legislation that curtail the basic freedoms identified.
In the case of violation of the right to privacy Enoakpa contends that the draft uses contested concept such as state security and public interest. The two terms [state security and public interest] have been used by African countries in the past to quash opposition and as such if this convention is passed and ratified by individual countries it might become the carte blanche to muzzle divergent views.
In respect to violation of the right to freedom of expression the paper point out that African’s are increasingly adopting the use of social media networks and blogs to voice their opinions. In most instance this opinions might be critical to the government of the day. Thus, in some instances folks have used pseudonym names to get word out on repressive practices by their governments or to voice criticism. The author in this case presents his reservations on the provision that would result in interception of traffic and content data.
The other contention raised by the author against the AU cyber security convention in this paper is the legislative overkill which would place an unjustified burden to the individual and corporations.
Lastly, the AU Cybersecurity convention gives absolute powers to judges which would be a basis for unjust civil liberties curtailment.
It is on these five points that Enoakpa Nkongho contends that the draft African Union Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace should not be adopted AU member states in January 2014.
The Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law,(CIPIT), a Centre under Strathmore Law School has started a campaign to oppose the ratification of the African Union Convention on Cyber space (AUCC).
The AUCC significantly restricts on-line freedom of expression and stifles the growth of the on-line business community. In essence, it unacceptably limits fundamental internet freedoms.
We would like you to participate in petitioning the African Union to stop the ratification process. Kindly sign our petition linked here. It is a simple 1 minute process, and the petition contains some of the reasons why we oppose ratification.
Also, follow us on twitter @aucyberspace and on Facebook . Feel free to post your comments.
The draft African Union Convention on the Confidence and Security in Cyberspace has come under criticism from many quotas. Jerome Orji was amongst the first to express his reservations in this draft legislation.
‘Although the draft Convention represents a landmark and holistic attempt to promote Cybersecurity in Africa, it is however not without some defects.’ – Uchenna Jerome Orji
In this journal article penned in November 2012 Jerome identifies three main shortcomings of this draft legislation.
1. The absence of a model legal framework
2. Mutual legal assistance and the requirement for dual criminality
3. The absence of a Regional African Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) or a Network Security Agency
Source: The Journal of Computer, Media and Telecommunications Law. Volume 17, Number 4, 2012