Draft Cybercrime Bill drafts industry

sent to clients 12 October…..

Justice dept to combat cybercrime…..

cybercrimeA draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill has been released for public comment by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional development, proposing to introduce a number of measures to combat cybercrime in South Africa.

With the publication came the worrying but suspected statement that it was estimated  that cyber-related offences are escalating considerably and “currently exceed a value in excess of R1bn annually.” The Minister stated that it was the department’s view that the development of the proposed legislation “was a milestone towards building safer communities as envisaged in the National Development Plan” and aimed at putting in place “a coherent and integrated cybersecurity legislative framework to address various shortcomings which exist in dealing with cybercrime” in South Africa.

Powers

The Bill proposes regulations to allow a national cyber entity, “to investigate, search and access, or seize, as well aspects of international cooperation in respect of the investigation of cybercrime.”

Offences

Offences include “Personal information and financial information related offences; unlawful access; unlawful interception of data; unlawful acts in respect of software or hardware tools; unlawful interference with data; unlawful interference with computer device, computer network, database, critical database, electronic communications network or National Critical Information Infrastructure, unlawful acts in respect of malware; unlawful acquisition, possession, provision, receipt or use of passwords, access codes or similar data or devices; and, finally, any computer related fraud.”

The list of offences continues with “Computer related appropriation; computer related extortion; computer related terrorist activity and related offences; computer related espionage and unlawful access to restricted data; prohibition on dissemination of data message which advocates, promotes or incites hate, discrimination or violence; prohibition on incitement of violence and damage to property; prohibited financial transactions; infringement of copyright; harbouring or concealing person who commits an offence; attempting, conspiring, aiding, abetting, inducing, inciting, instigating, instructing, commanding, or procuring to commit an offence.”

Power of Internet

Whilst the list seems long, the Bill indeed gives some idea of the levels to which cybercrime has nowcybercrime3 reached but it also indicates the many forms of crime have turned to the Internet as a vehicle for criminal activities, both locally and internationally.

In addition, South Africa’s President is being given powers to “enter into agreements with foreign states to promote cyber security.”

The government is to establish what exactly are “national critical information infrastructures” and will provide for the establishment of a “point of contact” and various structures to deal with cyber security. Wording later in the Bill indicates that this will be called the “National Cybercrime Centre”.

National Cybercrime Centre

Once again, the communications industry is called upon to assist and impose “obligations on electronic communications service providers with respect to cyber security.” This is the clause that is bound to cause offence, even rejection because of cost and which appears to ask providers to do the work and with stiff penalties of up to R10,000 a day for every day the matter is not reported to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The clause reads, “An electronic communications service provider that is aware or becomes aware that its computer network or electronic communications network is being used to commit an offence provided for in this Act must (a) immediately report the matter to the National Cybercrime Centre; and (b) preserve any information which may be of assistance to the law enforcement agencies in investigating the offence, including information which shows the communication’s origin, destination, route, time date, size, duration and the type of the underlying services.“

Who is responsible

Earlier this year, at a cybercrime symposium in Johannesburg, the Minister of State Security said, “The Government’s approach in dealing with this matter is premised on the policy principle that national security, which includes the security of the information and communications technologies in the country, is a responsibility of the structures responsible for security in the Republic.”

This statement, when re-read, can obviously work in many ways and the Bill appears to do just this.

Other articles in this category or as background

http://parlyreportsa.co.za/communications/south-africa-needs-international-cybersecurity/

 

 

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