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Namibia: Bill on Intercepting Electronic Communications Without Court Oversight

(June 12, 2009) It was reported on June 4, 2009, that the Information and Communications Technology Minister of Namibia, Joel Kaapanda, sent a communications bill to the floor of the parliament which, if passed, will make it possible for the government to intercept any electronic communication, without any form of oversight. (Brigitte Weidich, 'Big Brother' Bill Becomes Real, THE NAMIBIAN, June 4, 2009, available at

The bill calls for the establishment of as many interception posts as the Namibian Central Intelligence Service (NCIS), the main security agency, deems fit. These posts will intercept and decode communications at the request of all institutions authorized to intercept or monitor electronic communications. The bill mandates that all communications providers ensure that their systems are designed in a manner that makes interception possible and that they store data on the origins, destinations, and contents of communications, at their own cost. (Id.)

The bill drew heavy criticism from the Legal Assistance Center, a Windhoek-based human rights group. Norman Tjobmbe of the Center characterized the provisions of the bill as “abusive and draconian” and stated that allowing the NCIS to intercept people's private communications without any court oversight is a clear violation of the Namibian Constitution and cannot pass a constitutionality test. (Spy Bill Unconstitutional – LAW, THE NAMIBIAN, June 5, 2009, available at