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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cybercrime Act to Address Vandalism of Critical Infrastructure

B300313-Cybercrime.jpg - B300313-Cybercrime.jpg

Telecoms subscribers and operators can now breathe sigh of relief, following the recent release of the document on Cybercrime Prohibition and Prevention Act, that was signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan before leaving office on May 29, 2015.


The new Cybercrime Act, which was signed on May 15, 2015, stipulates that henceforth, any crime or injury on critical national information infrastructure, sales of pre-registered Sim cards, unlawful access to computer systems, Cyber-Terrorism, among others, would be punishable.
Following incessant vandalism of telecoms masts and arbitrary sales of pre-registered SIM cards, among cybercrime related issues, stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), appealed to government to pass a bill that will protect and declare telecoms infrastructure as critical national infrastructure.
Based on the public outcry on telecoms infrastructure vandalism, several bills were raised, which went through the rigorous process of 60th Chambers of the National Assembly before it was passed into an Act by former President Goodluck Jonathan, before leaving office.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives members had last year, passed the Bill on cybercrime and other offenses, and went ahead to harmonise the Bill, but had to wait for the Presidential assent, before it becomes a Law or an Act.
The cybercrime Act lists offenses and penalties including unlawful access to computers, unlawful operation of cybercafes, system interference, intercepting electronic messages, emails, e-money transfer, tampering with critical infrastructure, and computer-related forgery, among others, as offenses that are punishable under the Act.
Theft of electronic devices, electronic signature, child pornography and related offences, racism and xenophobic offences are also punishable under the Act.
The objectives of the Act are to provide an effective and unified legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection prosecution and punishment of cybercrimes in Nigeria; ensure the protection of critical national information infrastructure and promote cyber security and the protection of computer systems and networks electronic communications, data and computer programs intellectual property and privacy rights.
The provisions of the Act shall apply throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and implemented to the letter.
According to the provisions of the Act, any person who, with intent commits any offense punishable under the Act against any critical national information infrastructure designated under section 3 of the Act, is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years without option of fine.
Where the offense committed under subsection (1) of the section results in grievous bodily harm to any person, the offender is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 years without option of fine.
Where the offense committed under subsection (1) of this section results in the death of a person, the offender is liable on conviction to life imprisonment.
A person who, without authorization, intentionally access in whole or in part a computer system or network for fraudulent purposes and obtains data that are vital to national security, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years or a fine of not more than N5 million or both.
A person who perpetrates electronic or online fraud using a cyber café, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 3 years a fine of N1 million or both.
Again, any person, who intentionally and without authorization, intercepts by technical means, non-public transmission of computer data, content, or traffic data, including electromagnetic emissions or signals from a computer, computer system, or network carrying or emitting signals, to or from a computer, computer system or connected system or network, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment of not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than N5 million or both.
Source: Emma Okonji, thisdaylive.com

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