Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Lawmaker wants cybercrimes law to be reviewed

Published:Friday | April 28, 2017 | 12:09 AM
Julian Robinson, opposition spokesman on technology

Opposition spokesman on technology Julian Robinson is urging the Government to review the cyber crimes legislation two years after its passage, noting that key terms in the statute have not been defined.

Section 9 of the Cybercrimes Act stipulates that a person commits an offence if that person uses a computer to send to another person any data (whether in the form of a message or otherwise) that is obscene, constitutes a threat or is menacing in nature, and with the intention to harass any person or cause harm to any person.

However, Robinson contended that certain key terms in the law such as 'menacing' should be clearly defined, adding that those definitions would provide greater certainty to Internet users about what is allowed and not permitted.

The legislation makes an exception in the case of communication relating to industrial action, in the course of an industrial dispute, within the meaning of the Labour Relation and Industrial Disputes Act.

Robinson suggested that lawmakers should consider whether there was the need for any further exceptions beyond that which applies to labour disputes.

The St Andrew South East Member of Parliament also wants the Government to consider including a provision that 'no proceedings may be instituted except by or with the consent of the DPP (director of public prosecutions)'.

"This could very well only be necessary in the short term, but could play an important role in effective application of the law," Robinson added during his Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament on Tuesday. Robinson told his fellow lawmakers that his recommendations come against the background of recent extensive public debate about malicious communications as set out in the Cybercrime Act of 2015.

Section 25 of the Act provides that the law should be reviewed by a joint select committee of the Houses of Parliament after the expiration of three years.