Controversial Cyber Crime Bill To Public Comment

Staff Writer | The Republic Mail

By Cue Sibiya

The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services has invited stakeholders and interested persons to submit written submissions on the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill.

The bill  has been introduced to bring South Africa in line with other countries’ cyber laws as well as the ever-growing threat of cyber crime.

It also plans to introduce a number of controversial new laws including possible jail-time for any ‘malicious’ electronic communication.

This includes possible jail time of up to 3 years and/or a fine if a message is found to:

  • It incites the causing of any damage to any property belonging to, or violence against, a person or a group of persons;
  • It intimidates, encourages or harasses a person to harm himself or herself or any other person;
  • It is inherently false in nature and it is aimed at causing mental, psychological, physical or economic harm to a specific person or a group of persons;
  • It is intimate in nature (aka nudity), and is distributed without the consent of the person involved.

Other purposes of the new Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Amendment Bill is to:

  • Create offences and impose penalties which have a bearing on cyber crime;
  • Criminalise the distribution of data messages which is harmful and to provide for interim protection orders;
  • Further regulate jurisdiction in respect of cyber crimes;
  • Further regulate the powers to investigate cyber crimes;
  • Further regulate aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of the investigation of cyber crime;
  • Provide for the establishment of a 24/7 Point of Contact;
  • Further provide for the proof of certain facts by affidavit;
  • Impose obligations on electronic communications service providers and financial institutions to assist in the investigation of cyber crimes and to report cyber crimes;
  • Provide for the establishment of structures to promote cyber security and capacity building;
  • Regulate the identification and declaration of critical information infrastructures and measures to protect critical information infrastructures;
  • Provide that the Executive may enter into agreements with foreign States to promote cyber security;
  • Delete and amend provisions of certain laws; and
  • Provide for matters connected therewith.

Submissions for comment on the proposed Bill must be received by no later than 28 July 2017.