Cyber Bill sails through Parly Committee Stage

internet screen security protection

THE Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill (2019) last Thursday sailed through the Committee Stage in the National Assembly and is now before the Parliamentary Legal Committee for scrutiny.

If passed into law, the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill will improve cyber security in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies by data controllers, their representatives and data subjects.

It will also protect children from cyber abuse, and curb several other cyber-crimes.

Some of the amendments to the Bill that will protect children include the deletion of the words “child pornography” in section 165 of the Bill, and substituting them with the words “child sexual abuse material”.

Information Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere said those found guilty of possession of child sexual abuse material would be imprisoned for 10 years.

“Child sexual abuse material would mean any representation through publication, exhibition, cinematography, electronic means or any other means whatsoever, of a child, a person made to appear as a child or realistic material representing a child, engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activity, or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes,” he said.

Muswere said the Bill proposed 10 years imprisonment or a fine not exceeding level 14 for any person who unlawfully and intentionally, through a computer or information system, produces child sexual abuse material, offers or makes available child sexual abuse material, distributes or transmits child sexual abuse material.

It also targets those who procure or obtain child sexual abuse material for oneself or another person, possess child sexual material on a computer system or a computer-data storage medium, and knowingly obtain, access or procure child sexual abuse material.

“Any person of 18 years or above, who unlawfully and intentionally through information and communication technologies, proposes to meet a child who has not reached the age of consent to sexual activity as set by the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) [Chapter 9:23] for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with him or her, where this proposal has been followed by material acts leading to such a meeting, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 14 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both such fine and such imprisonment,” Muswere said.

He said the proposed Cyber Security and Monitoring Centre would give policy direction and guidance to the minister on issues of national security.

Section 164F of the Bill was also amended to include the words that “recording of genitalia and buttocks” will now be an offence.

It now reads: “Any person who unlawfully and intentionally records an image or video beneath the clothing of another person which depicts this person’s genitalia or buttocks, whether covered by underwear or not, without the consent of the depicted person or with recklessness as to the lack of consent of the person concerned, as far as these are to be protected against sight according to the recognisable will of the depicted person, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

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