ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has approved its first comprehensive proclamation to regulate the development and domestication of information technology products.
Members of parliament ratified the bill, titled “Information Technology Products Security Clearance and Control Proclamation”, on Thursday.
The motion to ratify the bill was presented to the parliament by the chairperson of the Technology Affairs Standing Committee Negeri Lencho.
The MP says the nation can’t isolate itself from the rest of the world in the development and adoption of information technology products.
This, however, needs to have the legal framework to prevent and reduce potential risks of tech products on the well-being of citizens and national security, the chair argues.
The parliament defined an IT product as “any technology device, design, algorithm, method, service, or application that can infiltrate, disrupt, intercept, destroy, mislead, distort, steal, and falsify electronic data or signals.”
The law establishes a system capable of identifying prohibited and restricted IT products, as well as determining their security clearance and safeguard procedures.
The new legislation applies to any person engaged in the import, export, manufacture, creation, sale, exchange, possession, promotion, traffic, and use of IT products. Its provisions involve safeguards and limitations on IT products’ entry or exit of the country or use without having security clearance.
Under the proclamation, the Information Network Security Administration (INSA) has been authorized to grant a security clearance permit.
The Administration will also identify and issue directives concerning prohibited and restricted IT products in partnership with relevant public entities.
It will also assign inspectors to monitor and supervise the enforcement of the obligations under the proclamation and launch investigations of cases, among others.
Fines and jail time could be imposed on any person who commits any of the acts prohibited under the law.
The House of People’s Representatives unanimously voted to ratify the draft proclamation.