South Africa moved a further step closer on Wednesday to legalizing the regulation of cybercrimes after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the Cybercrimes Bill.
The objectives of the bill are to create offences and impose penalties which have a bearing on cybercrime and to criminalize the distribution of data messages which are harmful, the NOCP, or Upper House of Parliament, said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
The bill will also provide for interim protection orders and further regulate jurisdiction in respect of cybercrimes, said the NOCP.
The bill further aims to regulate the powers to investigate cybercrimes and further regulate aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of the investigation into cybercrimes, according to the NOCP.
It said the bill also impose obligations on electronic communications service providers and financial institutions to assist in the investigation of cybercrimes, and provides that the executive may enter into agreements with foreign states to promote cybersecurity.
Under the bill, if somebody is convicted of a cybercrime, he or she could spend between one year to 15 years in prison, depending on the cybercrime.
When tabling the bill in 2017, the Department of Justice and Correctional Service said the bill aimed to stop cybercrime and improve the country’s security.
The bill was first initiated in August 2015, updated in January 2017 and was introduced in Parliament in February 2017.
The National Assembly, or Lower House of Parliament, passed the bill in November 2018.
Now the bill is awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign it into law.
Cyber-related incidents such as cybercrimes, IT related failures and data breaches have been rated as the number one risk to South African businesses, according to the 2018 Allianz Risk Barometer report.
South Africa remains a top target for cybercrime in Africa because of its high internet connectivity rates, attractive GDP per capita and poor levels of cyber security, especially in business.
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