Following a meeting held earlier this week Cabinet has approved the introduction of the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill of 2016 into Parliament.

The Bill was first published in draft form last year, and seeks to introduce a number of new offences that would hopefully improve the nation’s fight against cybercrime. During the public consultation process, critics worried about some of the language and powers that it potentially confers onto authorities, and pressure groups including R2K and the Electronic Frontier Foundation both submitted documents commenting on it.

Some good things about the Bill: it lays out a framework for penalising illicit access to and theft of data from corporate servers, and introduces explicit penalities for uploading pornographic pictures of people without their consent. Some bad things (in our opinion): it brings back some aspects of the Secrecy Bill that were dropped through the back door, it has no exemption for whistleblowers who leak data, and seems overly broad in its language.

The text of the draft Bill is here. – according to the notice the version sent to Parly will be published at the DoJ’s website (www.justice.gov.za), but it’s not available there yet. The Bill was reviewed by the Department of Justice earlier this year.

It’s also worth noting that both Kenya and Nigeria have introduced similar legislation this year.

[Image – CC 2.0 Perspecsys Photos]