Ethiopian Lawmakers Approve the Country’s First Cyber Crime Law

11114154806_1e01da4b71_zEthiopian lawmakers on Tuesday passed the country’s first ever cybercrime bill. The bill was presented to parliament in April by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HPR) approved the Computer Crime Proclamation bill which aims to regulate and protect against cybercrimes.

The new law will protect against local and foreign cybercrimes targeting government institutions and infrastructure. The bill is also aimed at protecting the rights of individuals.

The 53-page law encompasses an extensive list of cybercrimes including Internet fraud, electronic identity theft, and hacking.

The law provides Ethiopia’s constitution the necessary tools to control, prevent, investigate, and prosecute perpetrators of cybercrimes.

The law was created due to the growing penetration of the Internet, computers, and cell phones in Ethiopia.

The Computer Crime Proclamation places restrictions on the cyber transmission of illegal content including sexually explicit material.

A prison sentence of five to ten years is the stipulated punishment for the transmission, distribution and possession of illegal content in the form of cyber pictures, videos, text and audio speeches.

Under the new law, suspects found guilty of hacking government infrastructure will face 10 to 15 years in prison. The sentence also includes a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 Birr (about $2,000 to $4,000).

The Information Network Security Agency has been mandated to investigate cybercrimes.

Flickr: UNICEF Ethiopia/Flickr

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