Government is set tomorrow to publicly discuss ground-breaking, proposed legislation that will address concerns of the crimes relating to internet use and illegal acquisition of computer data.
Tomorrow morning, the public consultation on the Draft Cybercrime Bill 2016 will be held at the Pegasus Hotel with Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, set to chair the proceedings. Also set to deliver remarks will be United States Chargé d’ Affaires, Mr. Bryan Hunt.
An overview of the Draft Bill will be given by Vonetta Atwell, Principal Parliamentary Counsel.
The Cybercrime Bill 2015 was gazetted earlier in September last year, with government intent on making it an offence for persons to illegally access a computer, illegally intercepting and causing data interference, illegally acquiring data and causing system interference, and using illegal devices.
Government will also be going after computer-related forgery and fraud, identity theft, sharing of child pornography, luring of minors, violation of privacy and spamming.
With regards to pornography, the proposed legislation explains that child pornography will relate to a minor engaging in sexual activity or sexually explicit conduct; a child in a sexually explicit pose; a person who appears to be a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct; or realistic images representing a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
It will not include any visual representation produced or reproduced for the purpose of education, counselling, or promotion of reproductive health or as part of a criminal investigation and prosecution or civil proceedings or in the lawful performance of a person’s profession, duties and functions.
With regards to hindering a computer system, the bill explains that it can mean disconnecting the electricity supply to a computer system; causing electromagnetic interference to a computer
system; corrupting a computer system; or inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data.
Intercept includes listening to or viewing, by use of technical means, or recording a function of a computer system or acquiring the substance.
Multiple electronic mail messages refer to an unsolicited data message, including electronic mail and instant message that is sent to more than five recipients at a time. It is being proposed that any person with illegal access to a computer system for the purposes of securing access to computer data commits an offence and faces a $3M fine and three years’ jail.
Any person who intentionally illegally intercepts and without lawful excuse or justification any subscriber information or traffic data or any communication that is not available to the public or uses any electromagnetic emission from a computer system that carries any data, will be committing an offence.
Again, the fine is $3M with three years’ jail on a summary conviction and a fine of $5M and five years’ jail for an indictable one.
With regards to illegal data interference – a person who intentionally and without lawful excuse or justification damages computer data or causes computer data to deteriorate or deletes and alters or copies computer data; or renders computer data meaningless, useless or ineffective; the fine is $3M and three years’ jail for a summary conviction or $5M and five years’ jail on an indictable conviction.
The legislation would also target hackers – a person who intentionally obtains for himself or another person computer data which is not meant for him or the other person and which is protected against unauthorised access, also faces similar penalties and jail time.
The proposed laws also threaten stiffer penalties for hackers and others that could interfere or affect computer networks of the government facilities or critical infrastructure.
The critical infrastructure refers to a computer system, device, network, computer programme or computer data so vital to the State that the incapacity or destruction of, or interference with it would have a debilitating impact on the security, defence or international relations of the State.
These could relate to provision of services directly related to national or economic security, banking and financial services, public utilities, the energy sector, and communications infrastructure.
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