Your Businesses Responsibility and the New Cyber Crime Bill
The new Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Act (Bill) is open for public consultation, however the deadline to comment, as members of the public, is the 16 June 2017. This Act will enable Namibian businesses to open up electronic channels when conducting business, and will have other effects on how Namibian businesses conduct their operations. 99FM’s MYD Smart spoke to Yolinda van der Linde of iWits, to find out what businesses need to be aware of regarding this new Act.
99FM’s MYD Smart asked :
With hacking becoming more prevalent in Namibia, what do businesses need to be informing themselves on?
“The new Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill does not only touch-base on consumer and service provider protection, but outlines a range of cyber-crime offences with their penalties. For instance, the bill states that if a person accesses a computer system or an information system while they are aware that they are not authorised to, such a person can receive a fine not exceeding N$ 100,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years. Such clauses within the Bill will help protect Businesses from hacking attempts that were made.”
“The Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime law is not only important for a specific group of individuals or businesses, but the entire nation as it is important that we completely understand what we are and are not allowed to do online.”
Tell us about this new Bill?
“The Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill is an extremely important Bill and is something that Namibia is in desperate need of. The objectives of the Act (or Bill) are:-
- To provide for the development, promotion and facilitation of electronic transactions and related communications;
- To remove and prevent barriers to electronic transactions and related communications;
- To promote legal certainty and confidence in electronic transactions and communications;
- To promote e-government services and electronic commerce and communication with public and private bodies, institutes and citizens;
- To develop a safe, secure and efficient environment for the consumer, business and public agencies or bodies to conduct and use electronic transactions;
- To promote the development of electronic transaction service responsive to the needs of online consumers;
- To ensure that, in relation to the provision of electronic transactions and services, the special needs of vulnerable groups and communities and persons with disabilities are duly taken into account;
- To ensure compliance with accepted international technical standards in the provision of development of electronic transactions and related communication; and
- To ensure that the interest and image of Namibia are not compromised through the use of electronic transactions and communications.
In a nutshell the Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Act (Bill) will enable Namibian businesses to open up electronic channels when conducting business. A perfect example of the limitations currently faced in regards to this is the banking or insurance industry. Due to the lack of such an Electronics Bill within Namibia, large corporations like Banking Institutes and Insurance Providers have not been able to provide their clients with online application functionalities, and this is mainly due to the fact that there is no law regulating the use and implementation of digital signatures.”
“It is important that both businesses and individuals take notice of the new Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill as it has an effect on both businesses and individuals’ online activity. Thus, due to this I would recommend that everyone gets involved, from an IT Manager to a regular online customer.”
Why should people be informed about this new Bill?
“The Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill is not only important in terms of business, but also on a personal capacity. The main chapters of this Bill include:-
- Legal recognition and effect of data messages and electronic transactions – this chapter covers a range of elements from Electronic Signatures to Automated Message Systems, thus it is important that businesses take notice of this chapter as it will have an influence on the communication used and how it is stored;
- Consumer Protection – this chapter is important for both businesses and individuals as it aims to protect both the consumers who make use of electronic transactions as well as the service providers through which the transactions were conducted;
- Accreditation of Security Services or Products – this chapter is more aimed at IT professionals or businesses who sell online security services and products;
- Liability of Service Providers for unlawful material – this chapter is more aimed at programmers, developers, web designers, etc. and includes sections from hosting to information location tools;
- Protection of critical or important data or databases – this chapter again is more aimed at programmers, developers, web designers, etc. and includes section from Inspections to Registration of critical or important databases;
- Cybercrime and powers of investigation in criminal matters – this chapter effects both businesses and individuals as it outlines what is seen as cyber-crime offences;
- Miscellaneous Matters – this chapter includes sections from the regulations of the law to the repeal of laws.
Thus as illustrated above, the Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime law is not only important for a specific group of individuals or businesses, but the entire nation as it is important that we completely understand what we are and are not allowed to do online.”
Whose responsibility is it to be involved in this public consultation process?
“It is important that both businesses and individuals take notice of the new Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill as it has an effect on both businesses and individuals’ online activity. Thus, due to this I would recommend that everyone gets involved, from an IT Manager to a regular online customer.
At the same time it is important that individuals with a good understanding of the internet and IT be actively involved in this process as they may touch on matters that the average user is not concerned about or aware of. Individuals within the industry would be able to raise issues like ‘the right to be forgotten‘ and ‘white hat hacking; whereas the public will be more concerned about their own privacy, the governments intervention of their privacy and being protected while conducting business online.”
“If a business in Namibia falls prey to a hack or inception there is not much the business can do to try and track the criminal; however the Electronics Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill includes a Searches, Seizures and Forfeiture section which grants authorities the rights to conduct the necessary investigations to try and catch the criminal.”
How will the passing of this bill assist businesses?
“The passing of the Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill most certainly hold a lot of benefits for Namibian businesses. For instance, due to the Legal Recognition and Effect of Data Messages and Electronic Transactions Chapter, businesses will now be able to allow their customers to apply for a product or service online without having to worry about obtaining the customers physical signature or voice recording.
With the passing of this Bill businesses will be able to provide their customers with a wider range of online solutions as Electronic Signatures and Original Information can now be seen as a legal form of information.
If a business in Namibia falls prey to a hack or inception there is not much the business can do to try and track the criminal; however the Electronics Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill includes a Searches, Seizures and Forfeiture section which grants authorities the rights to conduct the necessary investigations to try and catch the criminal.”
Anything else businesses need to be aware of regarding this bill?
“It is important that businesses take note of the Legal Recognition and Effect of Data Messages and Electronic Transaction section as it includes a range of data that needs to be kept by businesses. It is also important that businesses take note of the various cyber-crime offences especially in terms of delivering mass-email communication for the purposes of marketing.”
How can businesses and individuals get involved in the public consultation for this bill?
“The Electronic Transaction and Cyber-crime Bill is currently open for public consultation until 16 June 2017. Copies of the Bill can be obtained from the following sources:
- Ministry of ICT Website: mict.gov.na under the Billboard section;
- Click here for a direct download;
- All Ministry of ICT Regional Offices;
- Via email from Kamutuezu@mict.gov.na and Emilia.Eino@mict.gov.na
For more information about the Bill in question, kindly contact Ms. Elizabeth Ujarura Kamutuezu via the following channels:
Email Address: Elizabeth.Kamutuezu@mict.gov.na
Telephone: +264 61 283 2393
Cellphone: +264 81 143 8414