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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sending these WhatsApp messages could soon get you sent to jail

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Just like in the golden rule of Matthew 7 vs 12, the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill will ensure that you do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated.

Think twice before sending scandalous messages, photos and videos of someone, because these are the kind of messages that could soon land you in jail.

The South African government is looking at reviving the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill that expired when parliament was dissolved on 7 May 2019.

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The aim of the bill is to align South Africa’s cybercrimes and related laws with those of other countries.

The bill will also focus on the criminalisation of harmful electronic broadcasts.

Harmful electronic broadcasting messages include:

  • The distribution of a person’s nudes or content of them performing sexual acts without their consent.
  • Messages that serve as a threat to a persons health or property.
  • Messages proving that you have incited damage to a persons property.

In our trucking industry, employers will be delighted especially with the second point mentioned above since such messages have been frequently aired on social media recently and without consequences.

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Victims of cyber-bullying can go the legal route if people circulate their content without their consent.

They can either lay a charge, sue those sharing the content or get a protection order.

The bill will have an effect on:

  • Financial Institutions
  • The Police
  • Cybercriminals and terrorists
  • Electronic Communications Service Providers
  • Government Departments
  • Information security experts and IT professionals
  • People that use the internet and cellphones

If the bill does get implemented in South Africa, it could mean that any person found guilty of sending these types of messages could be imprisoned for up to three years, or be liable to pay a fine of up to R150 000, and in some cases it might be both.

Though the bill has not yet been officially implemented, it would be best to exercise extreme caution regarding what you share on WhatsApp and other social platforms.

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You don’t want to go to jail or worse still, get a criminal record, for sending a message to attack someone’s property as has been the norm during the truck violence.

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