Unsolicited ED Mnangagwa Texts Illegal - MISA
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says the sending of unsolicited political messages to mobile phone users violates the Cyber and Data Protection Act.
This comes after voters across the country have been bombarded with messages purportedly from President Emmerson Mnangagwa soliciting votes ahead of forthcoming general elections.
MISA has written a letter to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) dated 11 April asking how third parties were accessing citizens’ personal data, including phone numbers.
In the letter, MISA Zimbabwe chapter director Tabani Moyo noted that the messages were based on constituency segmentations as per the voters’ roll. Part of the letter reads:
Over the past few weeks, mobile phone users have reported receiving unsolicited political messages that are personalised and highly targeted through local and constituency-based segmentation.
Usanetseke neNetOne airtime.
Baya *405# utenge neEcoCash
The messages’ personalisation and targeted nature are closely related to the information in the voters’ roll.
There is every reason to believe that the unsolicited texts violate the Cyber and Data Protection Act which governs the use of personal biometric data.
The Act states that the use of personal biometric data in this way is prohibited unless the data subject gives consent in writing.
… In that regard, MISA Zimbabwe seeks to know how third parties have access to subscriber numbers and are sending unsolicited messages in a possible breach of the law.
One of the messages sent to a subscriber reads:
Kwaziwai. Iyi ndiyo WhatsApp nhamba yangu yeSeke 0719******, ichengetedzei mufoni menyu nekuzivisa vamwe vagari vemaSeke. Ndichange ndichikuzivisai paWhatsApp STATUS yangu, zvirikuitwa nehurumende kuvaka nyika yedu nemuno maSeke. Ndatenda, ndini wenyu President ED Mnangagwa.
Moyo indicated that mobile telecommunication operators, that is Econet, NetOne, and Telecel, as well as Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZZEC) have denied leaking citizens’ personal information to ZANU PF.
He said POTRAZ ought to clarify the matter and ensure that citizens’ right to privacy will remain protected.
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