Cybercrimes Bill – a positive step towards the regulation of cybercrimes in South Africa

Technology has become an indispensable part of modern life – it has significantly changed the way people communicate and do business. In a world and country where technology is dynamic in nature and is continuously evolving, South Africa has struggled to keep up with these developments and in regulating cyber security and cybercrimes.

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 is further 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).

At present, the current legal framework relating to cybercrime in South Africa is a hybrid of different pieces of legislation and the common law which has not kept up with the dynamic nature of technology and international standards. This prompted the need for the Cybercrimes Bill, which will, inter alia, consolidate and codify numerous existing offences relating to cybercrime as well as create a variety of new offences which do not currently exist in South African law.

Old Bill vs New Bill

It is important to note that the version of the Cybercrimes Bill which was passed by the National Assembly in November 2018 (New Bill) differs quite substantially from the versions of the Bill published previously (Old Bill).

The Old Bill was divided broadly into two parts, namely cybercrimes and cybersecurity. The cybercrimes section, bar a few criticisms, was lauded however it was the proposed cybersecurity section which raised very serious concerns about the government’s encroachment on freedom of expression and freedom of the internet. It was argued that the Bill’s approach did not strike the right balance between the interest of the State in securing cyberspace and individual freedoms and rights. ..Read More..

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