A brutal reality of the world today is the developing worldwide risk (and industry) of cybercrime. Our reality rotates around data innovation and it is our reliance subsequently which is focused by digital crooks.

The proposed Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill (“Cybercrimes Bill”) , which is not yet in effect, aims to assist in providing the framework for combating computer-related crimes, which has to date, been regulated by various pieces of legislation and common law as same fall short of effectively regulating the complex world of cybercrime.

The Cybercrimes Bill will have broad consequences for inter alia the following persons:

•           Persons who use a computer or the internet.
•           Electronic communications and financial service providers.
•           Suppliers of IT hardware tools and software.
•           Representatives of government departments.
•           Information security experts.
•           The South African Police Services (SAPS).
•           People who are involved with IT regulatory compliance.

The proposed Bill creates approximately 50 new offences which have a bearing on cybercrimes, which include hacking, unlawful interception or interference with data, using financial information to commit an offence and the distribution of data messages that are harmful.

These crimes are pervasive and may have substantial implications for persons or businesses providing services in this domain, particularly as penalties are quite severe ranging from fines to imprisonment of up to fifteen years, or both.

Furthermore, the Bill confers extensive powers on SAPS which include the right to search, investigate, access and seize anything from a computer to a data base provided they are in possession of a search warrant authorising their actions. The powers conferred on the SAPS are essential to combat cybercrimes and promote cybersecurity.

The Bill proposes the establishment of the National Cybercrime Centre, a specialised unit, to deal with reports by electronic communications service providers and financial institutions who become aware that their electronic communications network are being used to commit a cybercrime.