Botswana amends cybercrime law, ammunition bill

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The Minister for Defence Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi says the Cybercrime and Computer-Related Crimes Act, first passed in Parliament in 2007, has been amended to keep up with the ever-increasing complex security issues and national security concerns.

Addressing the media recently, Mr Kgathi said the current trends of crimes committed through the use of cyberspace necessitated the need to develop the appropriate legal framework that will deal with emerging security issues. He explained that the bill, which has been gazetted, will be presented to Parliament to ensure inclusivity and further gather input from Batswana through their members of Parliament.

Minister Kgathi said crimes committed through cyberspace include terrorism, money laundering, financing terrorism, human trafficking, trafficking of harmful chemicals, defaming, cyber stalking and cyber harassment.

He said this also includes revenge pornography, where private sexual photographs are posted without the consent of those who appear in them, adding that such crimes are on the rise, hence the need to tighten legislation around them.

Kgathi further highlighted that the act is targeted at offenders who post racist, xenophobic material and insults through the internet via various devices, a practice that is increasingly becoming a threat to human security. The Minister noted that Botswana laws were amended in line with international laws and regulations as well as regional laws such as the Southern African Development Community and the United Nations protocols.

The amended Cybercrime and Computer-Related Crimes Bill, he said, would give Police officers and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime procedural powers. He said the Law would enable them to get the information from the computer and the traffic data from the service provider. Furthermore, he explained that under the amended act, police officers would have the power to question those found in possession of ammunition to determine where the ammunition was procured and produced.

It also came to light that the government has tightened cyber-crime related penalties, with offenders expected to cough up anything up to P100 000 or face a 7-year jail sentence.

Reference: BOPA

3 weeks ago