110 MIZAN LAW REVIEW, Vol. 9, No.1 September 2015
instance, Ethiopia has had only 1.9% Internet penetration.4 Similarly, the World
Economic Forum rates the number of Internet users in Ethiopia at 1.9%, ranking
139 out of 144 countries.5 Recent data released by the Ethiopian government
claims that the level of Internet penetration has reached 5.5% as of D ecember
31, 2013.6 Much of the Internet traffic in Ethiopia is said to be downloads of
content from overseas websites than uploads of local content which constitutes
only 10% of the overall Internet traffic in the country.7
This delay in the proliferation of the Internet has partly played a role in
delaying legislative measures in the field of Internet law.8 The first Ethiopian
legislation that addresses Internet-related endeavours and/or behaviours came
only in 2004,with the adoption of the Ethiopian Criminal Code which penalizes
a short list of computer crimes most notably ‘computer hacking’, ‘spreading
malware’ and ‘denial of service (DoS) attacks’.9 The other –and so far the most
4 World Internet Stats, World Internet Usage and Population Statistics 2014, 2014, available
at <http://bit.ly/1z8zSrO> (Last accessed on 25 September 2015).
5 See Klaus Schwab, Editor (2014), The Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, Full
Data Edition, The World Economic Forum, p. 509.
6 See Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Communication
and Information Technology Statistical Bulletin, supra note 3, p. 7. In a very recent
interview, Dr. Debretsion reveal ed that the number of Internet users in the country has
reached over seven million, which accordingly would put the level of Internet penetration
about 7 %. See Dawit Kebede, The Success Story of Ethiopia’s ICT: Interview with Dr.
Debretsion, Awramba Times, 3 May 2015, webcast available at <http://bit.ly/1EZt8JA>
(Last accessed on 25 September 2015).
7 See Jemal Abdu, Think Tank Research Calls for Telecom Reform, Addis Fortune,
Vol. 15 , No. 766, 5 January 2015, available at <http://bit.ly/1vUl4V2c> (Last accessed on
25 September 2015).
8 Internet law – also called cyberspace l aw, computer law or cyber law – is a new field o f
law that studies the legal aspects of human experience in the virtual world often referred to
as ‘cyberspace’. See Brayan Garner , Editor (2004), Black’s Law Dictionary, St. Paul
Minn, 8th Ed, p. 1168; see also Victor Mayer-Schonberger (2003), The Shape of
Governance: Analysing the World of Intern et Regulation, Virginia Journal of
International Law, Vol. 43, p. 606; see also Chris Marsden, Internet Law, Oxford
Bibliographies, 26 June 2012, available at <http://bit.ly/1FqT7gO> (Last accessed on 25
9 See Arts 706 -709, Ethiopian Criminal Code, Federal Negarit Gazeta, Proclamation No.
414/2004. Note that dozens of cybercrimes have been committed in Ethiopia since the
enactment of the Code, but there currently are only few reported court cases where
cybercrime rules of the Code were applied. See, for instance, Fasika Tadesse, Yonas
Kassahun Receives Two-Year Jail Sentence for Cyber Crimes Against Akiko Seyoum,
Addis Fortune, Vol. 15, No. 757, 2 November 2014, available at <http://bit.ly/1bEUb5C>.
See also Fasika Tadesse, Akiko Sees a Cyber-Crime Guilty Ruling against Accuser for
42m Br, Addis Fortune, Vol. 15, No. 756, 26 Octo ber 2014, available at
<http://bit.ly/1GuZAcf>; Lucy Kassa, Diaspora Investor Set Free in a Higher Court