THE government is putting final touches on the cyber law in a bid to check the increasing incidents of cyber fraud and crime, it has been announced.
At present, a computer emergency response team has been formed to respond to cyber-related crimes, according to the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Dr Zaipuna Yonah.
"The government is also considering revising the National ICT policy of 2003 to accommodate new developments in the industry," he said. The expert said in Dar es Salaam while presenting a paper at the National Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) on Thursday.
NIGF is a multi-stakeholders forum that discusses various issues related to governance of internet. It draws members from the government, the civil society, academicians and technical experts. In his presentation titled;
"National Backbone; status and last mile connectivity and local content," Dr Yonah said about 10,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) have been laid countrywide.
"In Dar es Salaam alone, 90 kilometres have been covered by the NICTBB while cross-boarder connectivity to eight neighbouring countries has been implemented," he told the forum. According to him, Tanzania is among leading countries in Africa which has been covered by fibre-optic cables.
This provides the country with beyond the requirement broadband facility. Through the multi-million state-funded project, all higher learning institutions, secondary schools as well as primary and hospitals countrywide are expected to be connected to the national backbone as the country is set to embrace e-learning, tele-medicine and e-governance.
"There is vast of opportunities for economic growth through the national backbone which was conceived in 2004," he said. He, however, cited electricity unreliability and limited coverage in addition to cyber crime as among major challenges facing the technology.
He also spoke on the need to train more Tanzanians on how to use ICT, noting that prices for bandwidth have decreased by almost 99 per cent. A member of the NIGF's steering committee, Mr Abubakar Karsan, urged ICT stakeholders in the country to cooperate for the purpose of promoting the utilization of ICT in promoting development.
"The steering committee is currently in the process of activating and promoting its activities. Various stakeholders will be engaged to achieve our objectives," Mr Karsan, who is also the Executive Director of the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs, said.
An official with the Tanzania National Information Centre (tzNIC) said the centre has so far registered 5,400 .tz (dot tz) domain since it started its operations. "The number is still very low given the fact that some 14 million Tanzanians are estimated to be using internet," he said. He added that the centre was now focusing on creating awareness among Tanzanians on the importance of using the local domain.