Cybercrime Bill finally for National Assembly – Williams

first_imgAfter 2 yearsThe much-anticipated Cybercrime Bill which was first laid in August 2016 is expected to return to the floor of the National Assembly almost two years after it was sent to a Parliamentary Special Select Committee for review.This was revealed by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams.“The Cyber Crime Bill has just been completed in the Special Select Committee, and it will be going to the floor of the Parliament for passage,” he said on Thursday. In making these remarks, the minister was addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop aimed at training state prosecutors in trial advocacy.The draft legislation is aimed at tackling the 21st century phenomenon of cybercrime. It treats with the creation of cybercrime offences, and contains provisions for penalties, investigations and prosecutions of such offences.Williams pointed out that with the Cybercrime legislation soon to come into force, there is need for state prosecutors to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to deal with cybercrime offences.Williams has said that given the dependence of societies all over the world on information and communication technologies, local prosecutions must be prepared to handle cybercrime and electronic evidence.“That’s a very important bill; and again, that would be a specialised area, and the prosecutors will have to be exposed to that kind of training,” the Legal Affairs Minister stated.Upon presenting the Bill in the National Assembly in August 2016, Williams had requested that it be sent to a Special Select Committee for special consideration and further consultation before it is debated. It has since been before that committee.This piece of legislation comes even as local companies continue to be at risk of being hacked. In fact, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) had fallen victim to such an attack back in January last year, when its ICT (Information and Communication Technology) system was hacked. The company had reported that discovery of the hack was made by its ICT personnel, who, while performing maintenance duties, had found that several systems were infected with malware. This forced the water company to take its servers offline to avoid extended damage, as the attack had disrupted its billing and collection methods.Besides hacking, there have been concerns expressed in regard to cyber bullying and defamation.Against this backdrop, acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine had announced in March last year that the Guyana Police Force would be establishing a cybercrime unit. According to the acting Top Cop, cybercrimes have become the opportune choice of criminals, hence the need for specialists who are specifically dedicated to combating such activities.Ramnarine noted that the Centre would be utilised to provide capacity-building to deal with cyber threats, something which he recognised demands a multi-stakeholder and long-term approach. Ramnarine had identified the Centre as the most resourceful location to equip ranks with the necessary skills and competency to have an informed approach to tackling cybercrimes.The Cyber Crimes Bill caters for, inter alia: illegal access to a computer system; illegal interception; illegal data interference; illegal acquisition of data; illegal system interference; unauthorised receiving or granting of access to computer data; computer-related forgery; computer-related fraud; offences affecting critical infrastructure; identity-related offences; child pornography; child luringl and violation of privacy, among a slew of other offences.The draft legislation outlines that a person commits an offence if he/she intentionally, without authorisation or in excess of authorisation, or by infringing any security measure, accesses a computer system or any part of a computer system of another person.It also states that a person who produces child pornography for the purpose of distribution through a computer system; or offers or makes available, distributes or transmits, child pornography through a computer system, commits an offence.Guyana hosted the 16th Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) – a forum for high ranking military officials from across the region to get together and discuss critical security issues – back in December, during which a commitment was made for the region to work together to secure the cyberspace of the Western Hemisphere against cyber-attacks.last_img

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