Snapshot of the new internet law

by | Dec 8, 2021 | Crime & Courts | 0 comments


Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa

President Mnangagwa recently signed into law the Data Protection Act which seeks to increase data protection in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies by data controllers, their representatives and data subjects.

The law seeks to protect individuals’ personal information, their rights under the Declaration of Human Rights and the right to privacy

The new act will also see the redesignation of Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as Data Protection Authority.

The DPA will give the old POTRAZ authority to oversee cyber activities and curb cybercrimes.

A reform of the Criminal Codification in line with the new Act will also be undertaken. Actions over computers, telephones and cellphones which before had gone unpunished are now punishable.



The new law criminalises cybernullying and harassment. This involves revenge porn including posting of nudes of another person over WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter. The penalty for such an act shall be 5 years in jail.

Also included in the harassment is posting of pictures of an individual and shooting live videos on social media labelling someone anything without their consent.

The Act also criminalise the processing of non-sensitive and sensitive information without consent of the data subject.

This includes copy pasting chats from social media groups be it on Facebook or WhatsApp without the consent of group members or even private chats.

Transmission of false information, something which many a Zimbabwean including some prominent journalists and politicians have been found afoul of will now carry a jail term.

Denigrating of individuals or their businesses on social media will be among the new set of crimes envisaged by the new act.



Posting material that incites demonstrations and destruction of private and public property is now a punishable crime. Over the years, many opposition activists have used social media to create chaos and anarchy.

Hacking of private or public computers and cellphones is a criminal offence according to the new law.

What one must be aware of is that whether one is using a ghost account, once a report is made, the policy are empowered to use all available means to uncover who is behind the ghost account and make arrests.

The law is also not limited by borders and one may still be reported whether they are in the Diaspora or in the SADC region.

Many social media users especially women who have borne the brunt of harassment and blackmail from former partners expressed joy over the new law. They said it protects them from harassment n ensures that their private life is kept private.

In the end, the question that needs to be addressed by persons before getting caught afoul of the new law is; Is what I am posting true, is it necessary and what effect do I seek?