South Africa's Minister of State Security, David Mahlobo, recently highlighted how he believes the proposed Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill will help in curbing the "fake news" phenomenon among other concering trends on the Internet which he says have the potential to pose a security threat to the state.
This comes after he recently came under fire from South Africans on social media and some human rights organisations when he mentioned that South Africa is contemplating the regulation of social media through the proposed bill.
"Recently, I raised the question of improving cyber safety, in particular the use and application of social media. This led to a huge outcry from various quarters and an outright rejection, all of this without any sound and critical evaluation, or engagement with the view we expressed." said South Africa's Minister David Mahlobo as he elaborated on his thoughts on the proposed Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill. Mahlobo further explained that the Internet and computers, and by extension mobile phones, do bring with them some of the "most complex challenges the world has ever faced" despite their impact on economic growth.
"They (challenges) range from protecting the confidentiality and integrity of transmitted information to deterring any compromise which could have devastating consequences for individuals, companies and governments." Mahlobo said.
Although the challenges and areas of concerns raised by Mahlobo in relation to securing the Internet are valid, it is the issue of regulating social media and possibly infringing on South Africans freedom of speech that has many differing with Mahlobo. Many, like the Right2Know organisation, see this as one way the South African government want to legitimize controlling what people say.
Mahlobo disagrees "I have noted that some have expressed an uneasiness with our involvement in what they consider to be an area that should be foreign to us. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to remind readers that in 2013 the cabinet approved a Cybersecurity Policy Framework for the government and charged the State Security Agency with the mandate to co-ordinate the government’s response to this area of concern."
Above all what is important is that while is still a bill, South Africans should participate and take an active role in shaping the proposed Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill, as Mahlobo concurs "It is therefore incumbent on all of us to participate in the processing and finalisation of this bill by parliament in this current year."