New Ethiopian law targets online crime
However, human rights activists are wary that the “computer crime proclamation” could be used as a tool to silence dissent.
Sharing defamatory speech or spam could get at least three years in prison, according to the new law.
Previously, the bill was tabled for discussion before MPs six weeks ago and they refereed it to parliament’s Law, Justice and Administration Affairs Standing Committee for further scrutiny.
Head of the standing committee, Gebregziabher Araya said the new law was meant to fill an existing void in the existing criminal law and criminal procedure legislation in addressing cybercrimes.
He said it will help prevent and control criminal acts on institutions such as banks and airlines, as well as on infrastructure, computers and networks.
The law says aims to control and prosecute criminal activities, including cyberattacks and electronic theft, which could be carried out online.
The law also includes restrictions on illegal content data and sending obscene messages to minors by transmitting, distributing, making available or possessing pictures, videos, or images on computers.
The law, whose most severe penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment for sharing pornography online, was approved on Tuesday.