Editor's Comment

We need cyberspace protection

THE significance of technological advancements in our daily lives is indisputable.
In today’s dynamic world, life without technology is meaningless and unimaginable.
Technology, which basically refers to bringing together tools that ease creation, use and exchange of information, has a major goal of making tasks easier to execute as well as solving many problems mankind is faced with.
Due to technological advancements, communication across the globe has been made easy. Through internet, the world has been compressed into a global village.
People, regardless of geographical locations, can virtually communicate through video calls, e-mails, WhatsApp, Facebook and many other social media platforms available.
Business transactions have also been made easy through electronic marketing and buying.
People can now buy different items in the comfort of their homes.
With technology, information can now be stored virtually in various storage devices such as compact disks and microchips eliminating the bulkiness associated with paperwork.
The invention of highly portable cellular phones has also taken communication a notch higher as people can network easily, anytime and anywhere.
In a nutshell, technological advancements have enhanced service delivery across all sectors, including education, health and agriculture.
As good as technological advancements may be, they come with their own challenges.
This is why some schools of thought refer to technology as a two-edged sword because it comes with numerous benefits on one hand and challenges on the other.
Due to the connectivity provided through internet, the cyberspace in particular has become a platform for criminal activities.
Devious individuals are using the cyberspace to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
Recently, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority blocked 200 Facebook accounts suspected to be used for criminal purposes.
This was after an expose’ that criminals were using names of government officials including the President and First Lady, to create Facebook accounts which they were using to ask for money from the public in exchange for jobs, scholarships or business opportunities abroad.
Pornography has also become the order of day on cyber space.
A few weeks ago, Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili raised concern over pornographic videos and pictures of women which were making rounds on social media.
According to the police, women were duped by con artistes into producing pornographic videos purportedly for sale overseas with an enticement of being paid K100,000.
After receiving the videos, the con artistes instead used them to blackmail the women to pay, failure to which the obscene materials were circulated on social media.
With the coming of social media, prostitution has also taken a different swing, where people are recruiting prostitutes through platforms like Facebook.
Similarly, these prostitution syndicates are also using social media platforms to market themselves and hook up with supposed clients.
Cyber bullying has also emerged, where members of the public and children in particular are exposed to bullying through social media. This has in some cases led to suicide among young people.
In the same vein, social media has been used by some morally bankrupt individuals to defame innocent people, especially those in leadership by spreading falsehoods.
Given the rampant abuse of the cyber space, the need for stringent regulations cannot be overemphasized.
It is, therefore, hoped that Minister of Transport and Communication Brian Mushimba will expedite implementation of President Edgar Lungu’s directive to work with Huawei Technologies of China to protect Zambia’s cyberspace.
President Lungu acknowledged that like other countries in the world, Zambia wants to move with technology, but is concerned and rightly so about its abuse.
This is why he wants Huawei to help protect Zambia’s cyberspace.
Given Huawei’s high profile as the largest multinational networking and telecommunications equipment company in the world, it is certain that the solution to cyberspace abuse will be found.
Huawei, which is also spearheading the Smart Zambia project, has so far proved that it is equal to the task.
The directive has been passed; it is now up to the Minister of Transport and Communications to set the ball rolling.
There is urgent need to put a stop to the rot on cyberspace for the good of our country and future generations.
Above all, it the responsibility of every citizen to ensure that social media is used for the benefit of society and not a platform to promote crimes or social ill and injustices.

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