Government To Regulate WhatsApp Usage
The South African parliament has amended the cyber bill, in a move set to upset how social media users interact on Facebook-owned instant messaging app, WhatsApp.
The controversial laws are part of the Cybercrimes Bill that was passed in Parliament a week ago, on 2 December 2020 and are only awaiting the President’s approval.
In essence, the laws are a step in the right direction towards the criminalization of revenge porn and crackdown on some cybercrimes associated with the instant messaging application.
Ever since the bill was mooted back in 2017, it has undergone a lot of changes.
Recently, the Parliament revealed the bill had been passed.
If the bill’s strict laws are anything to go by, personal data of WhatsApp users will be subject to scrutiny by both the law enforcement agencies and the electronic communications service providers and financial institutions which have been tasked to monitor such cybercrimes on the instant messaging app.
The bill makes it clear that the sending of intimate content which can be seen as harmful without the subject’s consent has been criminalised.
It also stipulates that any person, be it on WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter, who discloses a data message to a single person, group of persons, or the public with the intention to incite damage or violence is guilty of an offence.
This basically means sharing of porn videos, and images – that do not belong you, or rather, that do not have you as the participant in the imagery is a criminal offence.
If translated in some way, sharing of nudes will also be regulated.
This because part of the bill addresses that the sending of intimate images over any electronic communications platform if the person is identified as being displayed in the image, if they are described as being displayed in the image but cannot be identified, and if they are identified from other information as being displayed in the image, is also classified as an offence.
That would mean seminude or nude pictures sent willingly by one to another may also be subject to scrutiny as they violate the law.
Basically what the new bill means is – especially for those who are not the creators of the content they send; the forwarding of porn and nudes is considered an offence.
The same is true of misinformation, messages of threat, fake news and, or photoshopped images that seek to cause harm.
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