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The Cybercrimes Bill – One step away from becoming law

The National Council of Provinces approved the Cybercrimes Bill on 1 July 2020.

The objectives of the Bill include:

The creation of offences and imposing sanctions that have an impact on cyber-crime;
criminalizing the distribution of harmful data messages and providing for interim protection orders;
further regulation of cyber-crime jurisdiction.

Law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr recently noted that, should the bill be passed by the president, it will effectively criminalise the following types of cybercrimes:

unlawful access – which includes the unlawful and intentional access to data, a computer program, a computer data storage medium or a computer system (commonly referred to as “hacking”);
unlawful interception of data – which includes the acquisition, viewing, capturing or copying of data of a non-public nature through the use of hardware or software tools;
unlawful acts in respect of software and hardware tools – being the unlawful and intentional use or possession of software and hardware tools that are used in the commission of cybercrimes (such as hacking and unlawful interception);
unlawful interference with data, computer programs, storage mediums and computer systems – being the unlawful and intentional interference with data, a computer program, a computer data storage medium or computer system;
cyber fraud – being fraud committed by means of data or a computer program or through any interference with data, a computer program, a computer data storage medium or a computer system;
cyber forgery – being the creation of false data or a false computer program with the intention to defraud;
cyber uttering – being the passing-off of false data or a false computer program with the intention to defraud; and
malicious communications – being the distribution of data messages with the intention to incite the causing of damage to any property belonging to, or to incite violence against, or to threaten a person or group of persons, including the distribution of “revenge porn”.

Besides prescribing offences and penalties to regulate criminal conduct, Cliffe Decker and Hofmeyer also pointed out that the Bill imposes obligations on businesses in general and on electronic communications service providers (ECSPs) and financial institutions in relation to the commission of cybercrimes.” Businesses who may fall victim to a cybercrime or who, for example, have an employee who commits a cybercrime, are required to offer cooperation and assist law enforcement officials in any investigations they may conduct,” the firm said.

Click here to download Cliffe Decker and Hofmeyer’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications Alert that focusses on the Cybercrimes Bill.

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