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Beai A0 Colleagues,
The Biaft Afiican 0nion Convention on the Confiuence anu Secuiity in Cybeispace ("the
A0CC") is scheuuleu foi final passage at an A0 meeting in }anuaiy 2u14.
The A0CC, if passeu in its cuiient foim, will have substantial negative effects to Afiica's online
economy anu social cultuie. We imploie the A0 to uelay passage of the A0CC until piivate
sectoi stakeholueis have been given a foimal oppoitunity to be heaiu.
At a minimum, we piopose the following pointeis foi amenument to the A0CC:
• The peaceful online expiession of peimissible views, iueas, anu theoiies on ieligion,
ethnic oiigin, iace, oi coloui shoulu not be ciiminalizeu. As cuiiently uiafteu, Aiticle III-
1 anu Aiticle III-S4 can be inteipieteu to impose uangeiously bioau limitations on fiee
• The A0CC piovisions on e-commeice (Aiticle I-4) iequiie full uisclosuie of iuentity
infoimation between contiacting paities, yet it iemains uncleai how such infoimation
will be veiifieu anu how confiuentiality will be maintaineu. This will substantially
inciease the cost anu iisk of liability associateu with online tiansactions, anu will likely
uo gieat haim to the fleugling online economy in Aficia. Noie pioblematic, howevei, is
the lack of any basis foi concluuing that such piovisions aie the most effective anu
efficient means foi achieving the A0CC's stateu goals. Iueally, e-commeice shoulu be
eliminateu entiiely fiom the A0CC, anu uealt with in sepaiate legislation. At a minimum,
the piivate sectoi shoulu be consulteu to ueteimine the most appiopiiate means foi
achieving the A0CC goals.
• The A0CC iequiies (Aiticle III-21) that ICT piouuct venuois submit piouucts foi
"vulneiability anu guaiantee tests." Such a iequiiement, although intentioneu foi
piotecting consumeis, actually incieases the iisk to consumeis. An ICT piouuct venuoi,
having complieu with the stanuaiuizeu testing iequiieu of the A0CC, can ieasonably
aigue that such compliance completely eliminates theii liability foi secuiity bieaches of
theii piouucts. Fuitheimoie, stanuaiuizing secuiity measuies acioss all ICT piouucts
benefits ciiminals because vulneiabilities apply to a laigei numbei of uevices anu
systems. Iueally, such stanuaiuizeu testing shoulu be eliminateu fiom the A0CC.

• Aiticles III-Su anu III-S1 give bioau anu uncheckeu poweis to "investigating juuges".
Such poweis incluue the powei to issue seaich anu seizuie waiiants foi any electionic
iecoius that the juuge consiueis to ielevant to a ciime (whethei the ciime is veiifieu oi
meiely suspecteu), as well as the powei to holu such seizeu infoimation foi any peiiou
of time ueemeu necessaiy by the juuge. Aiticle III-SS gives juuges almost unlimiteu
powei to oiuei the inteiception in ieal time of tiansmitteu messages (i.e., wiietapping
anu othei suiveillance measuies). The juuge has sole uiscietion to ueteimine necessity
anu appiopiiateness of these bioau poweis. These piovisions ignoie the neaily
ubiquitous lack of qualifieu investigative juuges, omit any iequiiement foi checking
such authoiity oi peimitting appeals of such intiusive poweis, anu aie highly likely to
be subject to abuses of powei.
• The A0CC poses a seiious thieat to the (Constitutional) iight of Piivacy. Aiticle II-28(2)
anu Aiticle II-S6(9) peimit the piocessing of peisonal anu sensitive uata by anyone
acting on behalf of the state oi any public institution on behalf of public inteiest anu
state secuiity. These concepts have elusive meanings, anu aie not auviseu foi use
within legislation especially within the Afiican context.
At a veiy minimum, cybei secuiity expeits anu a wiue selection of inuustiy anu non-
goveinment stakeholueis shoulu be given a chance to vet the A0CC. The piocess shoulu be
tianspaient anu public.
A consoitium of oiganizations have enuoiseu this movement incluuing, among otheis, uoogle,
ihub, iLabAfiica anu CIPIT at Stiathmoie 0niveisity.

Centei foi Intellectual Piopeity anu Infoimation Technology Law (CIPIT)
Stiathmoie Law School