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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Zambia pushes for cyber-crime law
Computer keyboard
Incidents of electronic fraud and hacking are said to be increasing
A new internet crime bill in Zambia could see convicted hackers facing sentences of up to 25 years in jail.

The government says the country's current legal system does not address high-tech cyber crime.

The proposed legislation, to be introduced to parliament on Friday, is backed by industry professionals who say hacking has become a real problem.

However, critics are concerned that the law, if adopted, could be used to curb access to the internet.

Security concerns

Zambia's most famous case of cyber-crime involved the hacking of a government website, which saw a picture of then-president Frederick Chiluba replaced with a cartoon.

The suspected hacker was charged with defaming the head of state, but the case against him failed because there was no law in Zambia to deal with cyber crimes.

"I think what people should be fighting for is to upgrade their security features on their websites to deal with hacking but not to criminalise it," Brenda Zulu, a prominent internet journalist, told AFP news agency.

Tracking offenders would be difficult as hacking can be done from outside Zambia, she added.

The Computer Society of Zambia agreed enforcing such a law would be difficult, but pledged to help train police officers.

About one in 1,000 Zambians owns a computer, according to unofficial estimates.

Country profile: Zambia
10 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Zambia
08 May 04  |  Country profiles

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