CYBER CRIMES ACT BECOMES LAW IN SA

THE NEW CYBER CRIMES ACT BECOMES LAW IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

In an attempt to fight the ever-growing danger of cyber related crimes, the President has assented (accepted and signed) a new Bill making it law in South Africa for the purpose of bringing our cyber security law to par with that of international standards.

The Bill, which is now an Act of Parliament, embodies new offences and criminalises a broad scope of offences, such as, inter alia, the following:

  • unlawful interception of data - dealing with pirating, copying and even accessing data of a confidential nature through the use of any hardware or software tools;

  • cyber fraud – where fraud is committed using software of hardware, where the fraudster misrepresents victims into providing them with information or obtaining information illegally without the holders consent;

  • cyber forgery – where the fraudster creates false data, or false website pages and/or programs in order to “trap” their victims;

  • cyber uttering – whereby false data and/or programs is “passed-off” with the intention to defraud; 

  • unlawful acts with regards to software and hardware tools – with the intention to use these tools to commit cybercrimes, such as malware, hacking and unlawful interception of data;

  • Theft of incorporeal property; and

  • harmful data messages which include messages that: 

  • incite damage to property or violence;

  • threaten people with damage to property or violence; and

  • unlawfully contains an intimate image(s), real or fake, of someone without their consent.

 

In addition to all the above, the act also provides duties and obligations which are directed to companies, network providers, internet service providers and financial institutions. The Act provides that these bodies must report any cyber offenses without undue delay and where feasible within 72 hours of becoming aware of an offence, failing which these bodies may be penalised and fined. By complying with the bill, these bodies will assist in the investigating of cyber related crimes by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and courts will assist in this regard by directing release of the data and/or the preservation of data.

The Act seeks to combat cyber crime with strict provisions that come at a critical time in our country as these crimes are increasing drastically, with the most frightening spike surging at the announcement of the National Lockdown as a result of the pandemic. The Act will provide more security and change the way people interact, distribute and utilise electronic data and will have an impact on every person and entity living and conducting business within the country.

It is therefore important to interpret and abide by the provisions of the Act and understand the impact it may have on you and/or your business.

Should you wish to learn more about the Act, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.

For any assistance on special levies feel free to email us or contact our offices on 011 - 646 8411 

-Philip Da Silva

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