Govt to fast track cyber law

Obrein Simasiku

The government says it’s working around the clock to have the Cyber Bill implemented soon to tackle and address issues of cyber security, and also have laws that will enable the police to investigate cyber issues and also criminally charge perpetrators.

The Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Emma Theofelus today told the National Assembly that the purpose of the Bill is to establish a Computer Incident Response Team, to create offenses relating to computer and information systems, provide that other offenses committed by or through computer or information systems be considered offenses, to provide for powers of investigation and to provide for matters incidental thereto.

“Although the Bill is critical in creating offences related to cybercrime, the Ministry will place a strong emphasis on educating citizens about the dangers of cybercrime and the importance of cybersecurity. As a result, the Namibian government developed the National Cybersecurity Strategy and Awareness Creation Plan, which was approved by Cabinet for implementation in March 2022,” said Theofelus. This also comes more than a week ago after the nation experienced a technical glitch on its .na doman system which was allegedly as a result of system upgrade. A precaution was released informing the public of the prevalence of the Brute cyberattack which hacks the system and steals critical information.

“What happened on October 4, 2022, was not a cyber-attack but a software glitch that occurred during a routine upgrade on the domain name system (DNS) server for the .na domain. The glitch only affected data traffic routing; no websites with the were down, and no local telecommunications networks were breached. This issue was settled on the same day. As a result, I’d like to reassure the public that the DNS server for domain is secure,” she stressed.

Theofelus warned that cybercrime is on the rise globally, owing to increased connectivity, remote working, reliance on technology, and automation.

“Namibia is not an exception to this global phenomenon. What complicates matters is that these types of crimes are typically committed by unknown individuals using information and communication technology (ICT) devices,” she cautioned. Meanwhile, she said, the cybersecurity strategy will enable the country to have a legal framework which calls for the finalisation of Cybercrime and Draft Data Protection laws in line with international standards; Building National Capacity on Cybersecurity which advocates for strengthening the capacity of a national pool of skilled personnel to prevent and respond to malicious cyber activities.

It also aims to establish functional national cybersecurity structures which are sought to create the National Cybersecurity Incident Response Team for Namibia as well as the development and implementation of Cyber Hygiene Policies. Furthermore. the bill seeks to create a Cyber security awareness program to educate all netizens (internet Users) on the internet’s benefits and dangers to practice safe habits to avoid harm or compromise of their privacy while online.

“Building National, Regional and International collaboration to increase the level of cooperation; and adopt, where applicable international cybersecurity standards, policies and treaties; and also the identification and protection of Critical National Infrastructure Information that performs vital functions which are important to the continuous functionality of social and economic activities,” stated Theofelus.

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