CENTURION Pretoria, South Africa, 25 February 2016 - With the recent banking and cellular scams in South Africa, it is clearly evident that the surge in cyber-related crimes poses a huge risk to institutions and individuals both locally and globally.

The current legal framework is very fragmented and South Africans are in need of a consolidated cybercrime law that will protect them. As a result the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill published on 28 August 2015 came about and is anticipated to be introduced in Parliament in the first half of 2016.

In light of the legislative landscape Sabinet hosted the annual Organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) breakfast workshop in Centurion that focussed on this very topical matter and the impact thereof.

Norton Rose Fulbright senior associate Nerushka Deosaran, technology lawyer based in Johannesburg, shared mind-boggling insights with law librarians and other professionals from the legal industry. Joining her were Tatum Govender, associate and Maremo Matlou, candidate attorney also from Norton Rose Fulbright.

According to Nerushka, the Cybercrime bill creates many new offences including hate speech, identity theft, prohibited financial transactions (i.e. phishing), copyright infringement and unlawful interception of data.

The penalties may include fines ranging from 5 to 10 million Rands or imprisonment anywhere from 5 to 25 years.

The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill represents a step forward in South Africa’s efforts to combat the onslaught of cybercrime. The Bill introduces 20 new cybercrime offences and establishes a number of structures designed to assist law enforcement authorities in combatting cybercrime. The Bill also introduces obligations for electronic communications services providers (which includes financial institutions) to inform its clients of cybercrime trends and to establish procedures to report such crimes. The first draft of the Bill was published last year and comments closed in November 2015.

Technology changes have brought about the information age. We find ourselves in a world where "a Twitter account is worth more on the black market than a credit card number" according to a study from Juniper Networks and the RAND Corporation.

"With this shift, business leaders are being held directly accountable for data breaches." - Experian

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