14 Jun 10 - East African Community meets on cyberlaw harmonization
Following the adoption of a framework for cyberlaws by the East African Community (EAC) on 7 May, the UNCTAD-supported cyberlaw process will continue at a 15-17 June meeting.
The meeting, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, will discuss the next phase of cyberlaw implementation in EAC partner States. Special attention will be given to issues of intellectual property rights, competition, e-taxation, and information security.
With the adoption of the framework by the EAC Council of Ministers, the five partner States - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda - have committed themselves to enacting cyberlaws that will be effective across the region. The creation of an enabling legal and regulatory environment was identified in the e-government programme initiated by the EAC secretariat in 2005 as a prerequisite to the implementation of e-government and e-commerce strategies at national and regional levels. The adoption of harmonized cyberlaws is in turn considered a crucial element in implementing e-government services effectively and increasing trade and investment in the region.
E-government and e-commerce strategies need strong legislative back-up on such matters as data security, network security, information systems, electronic transactions, and the prevention of cybercrime.
The framework provides guidelines for the enactment and enforcement of harmonized cyberlaws in the region. It covers electronic transactions, electronic signatures and authentication, data protection and privacy, consumer protection, and computer crime.
Policymakers of developing countries are increasingly aware of the need to adapt and harmonize their legislation to take into account the Internet economy and the potential of e-commerce for boosting domestic and cross-border business and investment.
UNCTAD supports capacity-building activities in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) in all developing regions, and helps lawmakers in the preparation of cyberlaws.