The Bill primarily centres around making it a criminal offence to steal data and interfere with it, but it also looks at introducing new legislation to oversee malicious messages sent via electronic devices.

According to Business Tech, people who contravene these three things could, at best, face a fine, or at worst, find themselves behind bars for up to three years:

  • When a message encourages damage to property or violence

If you unlawfully broadcast or distribute a message to a person or a group that is intentionally geared towards inciting damage to property, belongings or violence against a person or a group of people.

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  • When a message threatens a person with damage to property or violence

This is essentially an extension of the above, but it goes further to state that a “group of persons” as referred to in the Bill, refers to characteristics that a person identifies with that makes them a member of a group. This includes things like race, gender, sex, religion, disability, language, conscience, culture, ethnicity, age and marital status, among others.

  • When a message contains an unlawful intimate picture

If you forward intimate pictures of someone without their consent, you will be contravening the new Bill. An intimate image is one that portrays someone in the nude or an image that reveals their private parts.

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Furthermore, if it is possible to identify the person through descriptions that you write in a message, it is deemed a criminal act. The Bill also seemingly protects women in that it states that if the image in any way violates or offends a woman’s sexual integrity or dignity, even if her private parts and breasts are covered up, it would be in contravention of the law and you could be prosecuted and, if found guilty, imprisoned.

Source: Business Tech