Electronic Transactions and Cyber security regulations in the pipelines

Malawi with technical support from Knowledge and Lisa Thornton consultancy is developing the cyber security regulations following a legal review of the Electronic and Cyber Security Act of 2016.

The development of the regulations come at the height of the adoption of ICTs in everyday communication. The country has seen a surge of the usage of ICT with over 36.5 of Malawian households and 43% of individuals owning a mobile phone with about 32 % of individuals having access to digital financial services and 29.5% of individuals having mobile money account.

The surge in usage is a clear sign of growth and development but it however poses a challenge of increased mobile and digital fraud, online theft, cyber bullying and other forms of cybercrimes. Bearing testament to this was inspector Kazambe an officer in charge of the cybercrime diversion in the Malawi Police Service who bemoaned the high levels of mobile fraud and cybercrime which are currently on the rise in the country.

Although the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act tackles the issues of cyber security in the country, it does so on a broad-spectrum leaving wiggle room for would be perpetrators and noncompliance of relevant stakeholders.

Speaking at a daft regulation stakeholder consultation meeting MACRA’s director of legal services Thokozani Chimbe stated that the regulations are necessary for the efficient discharge of the E-Transaction Act.

“The Regulations will be a clear translation of the Act, outlining the roles of MACRA, the obligations of relevant stakeholders and the legal repercussions thereof failing to comply to the regulations, and the rights of ICT consumers and their repercussions in relation to online violation”.

In his remarks the manager responsible for the Malawi Emergency Response Team mwCERT Christopher Banda outlined some of the challenges they were meeting when discharging their duties regarding the protection of the Critical information infrastructure and the coordination of a national response to cyber security threats.

“Since its establishment, the mwCERT has managed to set up a national coordination of the country’s critical infrastructure including banks, government organizations and the Malawi police service and military. However, we were working on principles of trust, these regulations will help us address the limitations of the Act and help us effectively discharge our mandate.

Some of the areas of interest which the regulations will address include the legal recognition of electronic transactions and digital signatures, online service provider liability limitations, protection of consumers in e-Commerce transactions, legal framework for digital signatures, personal data protection, cyber offenses, domain name management and e-Government transactions.

A representative for the consultants Brian Longwe stated that the team will engage MACRA and all the relevant stakeholders that are affected by the Act to ensure a comprehensive document that is a representation of industry.

representative from Thorntom and Knowledge consultancy during the first consultation meeting
MACRA’s Acting Director General giving his opening remarks
participants during the meeting