Computer Crimes

Through a Supplementary Order Paper dated November 7 2000, an amendment to the Crimes Act was proposed through the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6). The purpose of the Supplementary Order Paper was to add a new computer offence to those currently included in the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6).

The new offence is of accessing a computer system without authorization, making it an offence, punishable by a maximum term of two years’ imprisonment for a person to intentionally access a computer system or part of a computer system without authorization, knowing that he or she is not authorized to do so. The offence can also be made out for someone acting recklessly as to whether he or she is authorized to do so. That is, effectively an offence of hacking.

This new offence will of course be of considerable interest to IP owners who may have their data or content interfered with or unlawfully accessed.

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