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News

Inciting violence‚ posting ‘malicious communications’ can lead to jail as Cybercrimes Act comes into effect

Sending electronic messages inciting or threatening violence against people or property and distributing intimate images without permission could put you in prison for up to three years.

The Cybercrimes Act‚ criminalising online-facilitated offences‚ including fraud‚ forgery and extortion‚ came into effect on December 1.

Justice minister Ronald Lamola welcomed the Act.

“It was necessary to align our law with international trends and best practices. Another consideration is the evolving nature of cybercrime. The methods of committing cybercrimes change rapidly and our laws need to keep pace with the more intrusive and complex investigative measures necessary to investigate cybercrime‚” he said.

The Act streamlines SA laws dealing with cybercrime. It includes harmful Facebook and Twitter messages as well as those sent privately on WhatsApp.

Lamola said cybercrime‚ being transnational in nature‚ requires collaboration between countries and the Act regulates aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of the investigation of cybercrimes.

It imposes obligations on electronic communications service providers and financial institutions to report cybercrimes to police and provides for capacity building for police to detect‚ prevent and investigate cybercrimes.

Lamola said certain sections of the Act could not yet be put into operation as they require regulations still to be finalised. These include those relating to protection orders against the harmful disclosure of pornography and the establishment of a functional point of contact within the police to co-ordinate cybercrime investigations and facilitate international co-operation.

TimesLIVE

Source: ARENA Holdings.