The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill has been doing the rounds since 2015. That should tell you how important it is and how much of a pig’s ear has been made of it up until now.
With the Bill inching ever closer to being signed into law, the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services is calling on the public for input.
To that end, the deadline for anyone interested in the proposed Bill has been extended until 28th July 2017. Members of the public can make a written submission to Parliament by emailing Committee Secretary, Mr Vhonani Ramaano. Verbal presentations have yet to be scheduled.
Now, before you roll your eyes and click on another story, it’s worth having a look at this bill. The reason being is that, while possibly well intended, there are certain parts of it that are so broadly defined they are woefully open to abuse.
For example, under the proposed bill, whistleblowers and journalists have no protection. If data is obtained by unlawful means – even if the information it contains is in the public interest – both the whistleblower who leaked it and journalist who published it can face criminal proceedings.
This means, for example, the recent Gupta emails may never have seen the light of day; the proposed Bill could have a chilling effect on the willingness on both sources to come forward and journalists to print what they say.
You may not care about journalists (or whistleblowers for that matter) so consider this: making a meme could land you in hot water.