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Zimbabwe: Potraz to Launch Inquiry Into Zanu-PF’s ED Texts

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POSTAL and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has promised to open an inquiry into leakage of private information after Zanu PF sent unsolicited campaign messages to registered voters.

Registered voters last month received a flurry of messages on their mobile phones soliciting support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of elections this year.

The SMSs stirred a storm with POTRAZ and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) coming under the spotlight over the leakage of private information.

ZEC distanced itself from the messages professing ignorance of how a third party accessed registered voters’ personal information.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter director Thabani Moyo, last month wrote to POTRAZ demanding an inquiry over possible violation of laws governing third party sharing of data.

In its response, POTRAZ said it will open an investigation over violation of Cyber and Data Protection Act.

“In accordance with section 6 (1) (g) of the Cyber and Data Protection Act (Chapter 12:07) (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’), the Authority hereby acknowledge the receipt of your complaint on alleged violations of the Act and shall be opening an investigation in terms of section6 (1) (f) and (h) of the Act.

“We take this opportunity to assure MISA Zimbabwe in particular, and the public in general, that the Data Protection Authority (DPA) is on a trajectory to promote and enforce better protection of personal information in line with the mandate encapsulated under the Act,” said POTRAZ.

The SMSs clearly stated names and constituencies that prospective voters will cast their votes in.

SMSs sharing whatsapp group links and asking individuals to save a particular mobile number for them to be kept up to date on all national development matters were received.

The same happened in 2018.

“MISA is encouraged and gratified by the authority’s assurances in this regard, as it goes a long way in keeping the people of Zimbabwe’s personal information safeguarded and protected from being accessed by third parties without consent.

“We, therefore, wish the Authority firmness and assertiveness as it proceeds with the investigations to their logical conclusion,” said Moyo.

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