Bill to make it easier to prosecute SA’s growing number of cybercrimes


December 4, 2018 9:58 am

The Cyber Crimes and Cyber Securities Bill aims to bring the country’s legislation in line with other countries’ cyber laws and tackle cybercrime. Photo: EPA
Cape Town – Sending a message that incites violence, damage to property or even sending an intimate picture of anyone without their consent, could land you a three-year jail term, a hefty fine or both.

The Cyber Crimes and Cyber Securities Bill aims to bring the country’s legislation in line with other countries’ cyber laws and tackle cybercrime.

According to ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, the bill criminalises cyber-facilitated offences by means of fraud, forgery, uttering and extortion, which are prevalent in the cyber-environment.

“This bill also addresses issues such as malicious communications. It criminalises a data message which incites the causing of any damage to property belonging to, or violence against a person or group of persons which is harmful or intimate in nature, and which is distributed without consent of the person involved (like revenge pornography),” he said.

“Considering the fact that many acts of cybercrime are committed in cyberspace, the bill substantially expands the jurisdiction to address those crimes which are committed outside of the borders of the country.

“The bill also facilitates procedures which will facilitate mutual assistance with other users of information, communication technologies to deal with the investigations of cybercrimes,” he said.

The National Assembly adopted the bill last week but rights groups believe there is existing legislation that can deal with cyber issues. Advocacy group Right2Know organiser Lazola Kati said there was little public participation on the matter.

“We don’t believe this bill is necessary because we have the Hate Crimes Bill that deals with similar issues. The government is trying to control what we see and hear in the social media and that is not the way to go.”

According to the bill, any person who unlawfully makes available, broadcasts or distributes by means of a computer system, a data message to a person, group of persons or the general public with the intention to incite damage to property or violence against a person or a group of persons is guilty of an offence.

Anyone who sends a message containing an intimate image of a person without their consent will be guilty of an offence.

Freedom of Expression Institute acting executive director Rea Simigiannis said there shouldn’t be any monitoring of social media in the country.

“We support freedom of speech, but not views that encourage violence or war.

“We believe that the Hate Crimes Bill is there to deal with issues of racism and gender discrimination and other issues.”

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Cape Argus

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