Internet Society submits comments for the revision of the Ethiopian Cybercrime law Thumbnail
‹ Back
Internet Governance 12 October 2018

Internet Society submits comments for the revision of the Ethiopian Cybercrime law

Dawit Bekele
By Dawit BekeleRegional Vice President - Africa

Imagine how much the Internet has changed our lives in the last few decades. Today, thanks to the Internet, we can communicate with anyone around the world, instantaneously, reliably and cheaply. This enables us not only to be close to our friends and family that may be far away but also to bridge the knowledge gap that we have with the developed world. It also opens many work opportunities that we wouldn’t even imagine just a few years back and democratize media, allowing anyone to reach instantaneously millions of people at almost no cost, forcing transparency in governance more than ever before.

At national level, our economies are benefiting from the economic opportunities, directly and indirectly related to the Internet. Experts say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that there are many more opportunities that are yet to be discovered.

However, we cannot deny that the Internet also comes with increasing challenges. Cybercrime is endangering Internet users, organizations and even countries. Our privacies are threatened every day. And more …  It is therefore appropriate that governments act to protect its citizens from the negatives impacts of the Internet by enacting laws and regulations. It was therefore appropriate for the Ethiopian government to enact a cybercrime law. However, it was clear from the beginning that the Computer Crime Law that was adopted in in 2016 infringes on the rights that every citizen is given by the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). In particular, the law infringes on the rights of free expression of citizens by adding provisions that have chilling effect on online expression. The law also has vague provisions that opens the opportunity for the government to accuse almost anyone who use the Internet. Last but not least, the law allows the court to shift the burden of proof to the accused, which is against the long accept judicial practice.

The Internet Society was therefore glad to hear that the government of the FDRE has decided to review the law and that the Internet Society is invited to comment on it. We have happily submitted our comments and we are looking forward to participate to the open discussions that we hope will allow to improve the law and contribute to the democratization of Ethiopia.

The future of the Internet is in the hands of all who use it. Help us at #CountMyVoice.

Editor’s note: We will link to the comments we submitted to the Ethiopian government from this post once the comments are published by the government.

‹ Back

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

Related articles

Engaging global communities to strengthen Internet governance
Internet Governance21 November 2013

Engaging global communities to strengthen Internet governance

This update on Internet Governance issues is intended to share background with and invite comment from the Internet Society community...

Putting the WTDC into a Broader Context
Development24 March 2014

Putting the WTDC into a Broader Context

2014 will be a watershed year for the future of the Internet. The disclosures last year of large-scale surveillance programmes...

IoT Brings Potential Opportunity to Africa
IoT Brings Potential Opportunity to Africa
Internet of Things (IoT)26 September 2017

IoT Brings Potential Opportunity to Africa

About 70 years ago, the world was introduced to the digital computers revolution which made the computation of millions of...

Join the conversation with Internet Society members around the world