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SA’s Cyber Crimes Bill Moves Closer to Adoption

These cybersecurity concerns are partly due to the lack of proper legislation in SA. In June the Select Committee on Security and Justice in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) adopted the Cyber Crimes Bill with amendments which include altering the tone of the Bill to reflect non-binary language on gender-neutrality, equality, dignity and identity, and the restructuring of clause 16 to reflect the impact of criminalising the disclosure of data messages of intimate images (the so-called ‘unhappy ex-lover syndrome’). The initial draft Bill was not well received. It was criticized for being too broad and open to abuse, and a threat to the fundamental spirit of the Internet, which is open and democratic. It also was not aligned to the POPIA.

Subsequent changes to the Bill included the removal of some of the security obligations, In November 2018, it was adopted by the National Assembly, and transferred to the NCOP for agreement. Further delays have meant that it only now, halfway through 2020, has the NCOP committee finalized its vote on the proposed amendments. The next step will see the Bill back at the National Assembly, which must vote on the amended bill before it can go to the President to be signed into law.

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Alastair Tempest

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