You will be in trouble for sending these messages to South Africa and your devices may be confiscated.

The police department has published in the newspaper his draft search and seizure rules for cybercrimes committed in South Africa.

The ballot, which is currently open for public comment, is subject to the Cybercrime Act, which was partially introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the end of 2021.

Cyber ​​Crime Law identifies three types of malicious messages that have been criminalized in South Africa. These are messages that:

  • Incite property damage or violence.
  • Threatening people with property damage or violence.
  • It is illegal to contain an intimate image.

In addition to criminalizing certain malicious messages, the Act also includes definitions of cyber fraud, document forgery, extortion, and real estate theft.

Following its release, the Police Department was given a period of 12 months to formulate its own standard operating procedures regarding the investigation, search, access or seizure of items used for cybercrime.

“The Cybercrime Act provides a new legal mechanism to combat cybercrime in South Africa and also establishes a number of new cybercrimes,” the agency said in a statement.

“It also provides for mechanisms to preserve electronic evidence1 in cyberspace, to conduct search, access and seizure operations in relation to an article as defined in the CPC, and to collect data related to both cybercrime and other crimes that are committed with help or facilitated through the use of the article.

The law allows SAPS to remove any relevant “articles” related to cybercrime, including:

  • Data;
  • computer program;
  • computer storage medium;
  • Computer systems (including laptops and phones).

“The collection, analysis or decision-making on articles at some stage of a criminal investigation or trial may involve employees of the GAP, other law enforcement officers, prosecutors and representatives of the judiciary,” the department noted.

“The basic principle to be followed in all digital forensic activities is to ensure the integrity, reliability, authenticity and possible admissibility of evidence in court, processes and procedures related to data and computer programs stored in computer systems and computer data. information carriers”.

Since the ultimate goal is to use evidence to support or refute disputed facts, articles must be obtained and processed in accordance with current South African law and best practice to ensure evidence is consistent, reliable and admissible. in court,” the ministry said in a statement.

The draft rules also noted that the human right to privacy, as well as other fundamental rights, must always be respected, and any violation of these rights can only be justified from the point of view of the law.

“The right to a fair trial is paramount, and the responsibility of the investigation and prosecution team to collect, preserve and present evidence in a fair and impartial manner to the court remains paramount.”


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