Cybersecurity is a top priority in the modern world and South Africa has kept up with the times.
A journey Cybercrime Act first proposed in 2017 has undergone a number of changes and will soon be signed by the president.
The latest version of the bill can be found here.
As in other parts of the world, the bill will criminalize the non-consensual sharing of intimate images under what is considered “Malicious Communication.”
Women have often been ridiculed, harassed and shamed, similar to the Salem Witch without the public executions, for sending intimate images. These new laws will help protect the dignity of those whose images are being shared if they are ever in a situation where someone tries to use these images against them.
The updated Cybercrime Act aims to:
“To create crimes related to cybercrime; to criminalize the disclosure of data messages that are harmful and to provide interim protection orders; to further regulate jurisdiction over cybercrime; to further enhance the powers to investigate cybercrime. regulate; to further regulate aspects related to mutual assistance in the investigation of cybercrime; to provide for the establishment of a designated contact point; to further provide evidence of certain facts by affidavit; to impose obligations to prevent cybercrime to report; to ensure capacity building; to provide that the executive may enter into agreements with foreign states to promote measures aimed at detecting, preventing, mitigating and investigating cybercrime; to delete and amend provisions of certain laws and to v provide for matters related thereto. “
A list of some of the cybercrimes
- unlawful access – including 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 – including obtaining, viewing, recording or copying data of a non-public nature through the use of hardware or software tools;
- unlawful acts related to software and hardware tools – being the illegal and deliberate use or possession of software and hardware tools used in the commission of cybercrime (such as hacking and unlawful interception);
- unlawful interference with data, computer programs, storage media and computer systems – being the unlawful and deliberate interference with data, a computer program, a computer data storage medium or computer system;
- cyber fraud – fraud committed by means of data or a computer program or by any interference with data, a computer program, a computer data storage medium or a computer system;
- cyber forgery – creating false data or a fake computer program with the intention of defrauding;
- cyber utterances – passing on false information or a false computer program with the intention of defrauding; and
- malicious communication – being the dissemination of data messages with the intent to cause damage to property belonging to, or to incite violence against, or to threaten any person or group of persons, including the dissemination from “revenge porn”.
Disclosure of data message of intimate image
Any person (” A ”) who unlawfully and deliberately discloses, by means of an electronic communications service, a data message of an intimate image of a person (” B ”), without the consent of B, is guilty of a attack.
Person B includes
- The person who can be identified as displayed in the data message;
- Any person described as being represented in the data message, regardless of the fact that the person cannot be identified as represented in the data message; or
- Any person who can be identified by other information as shown in the data message.
An intimate image
The bill defines an “ intimate image ” as an image of a person that is real or simulated, and created in any way in which:
- Person B is naked, whether person B’s genitals or anal region is shown, or if person B is a female, transgender person, or intersex person, their breasts are shown; or
- The covered genital or anal area of Person B, or if Person B is a female, transgender person, or intersex person, their covered breasts are displayed.
- in respect of which B thus shown maintains a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time the data message was made in a manner that: violates or affects the sexual integrity or dignity of B; or amounts to sexual exploitation.
According to Cliffe Dekker Hoffmeyer: “The cybercrime bill prescribes the penalties that can be imposed on offenders when convicted for the cybercrime created by the bill, carrying fines and / or imprisonment of five to ten years, with serious crimes punishable by imprisonment of up to fifteen. year.
“In the case of cyber fraud, cyber forgery and utterances crimes, the bill provides for broad sentences that can be imposed on anyone found guilty of any of these cybercrimes, with a court having discretion to impose a penalty which it deems appropriate under section 276 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
“Such penalties may include a fine (unspecified), imprisonment, a declaration as a simple criminal statement and correctional oversight.”