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We must modernise cybersecurity law

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Even though there are quite a few laws governing cyberspace in South Africa, many believe that an additional one would be excessive, writes LUCIEN PIERCE, Partner, Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys.

South African law already has at least four pieces of legislation and one policy that can be used to combat cybercriminals. It is for this reason that a few information security industry players have argued that the addition of one more cybersecurity law, such as the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, would be excessive.

In the Information Security industry, there is an argument that laws such as the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002, the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act 2002, as well as the Protection of Personal Information Act and the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework, are sufficient to combat the growing scourge of cybercrime.

However, the reality remains that whilst each of these pieces of legislation have elements that address cybercrime, they are just not adequate enough to deal with the highly complex and multijurisdictional methods that cybercriminals now utilise in this day and age. It would require a seasoned lawyer to extract the relevant provisions of each of the above pieces of legislation and to craft a satisfactory charge sheet or summons for some of today’s complex cybercrimes.

Consider a hacker who breaches a company’s security systems, steals its intellectual property then sells its clients’ personal information and makes its computers slaves in a botnet, and incapacitates its computer network by using ransomware.  The lawyer would have to be an expert on each of the pieces of legislation and rely on portions of each of the above laws to address each of the different types of crimes committed in this context.

It is for this reason that firstly, our laws need to be modernised, and secondly, the requisite of having one comprehensive law that is able to account for any of the circumstances as mentioned.

The recent R300-million Standard Bank credit card “hack” is a prime example of the multijurisdictional nature of cybercrimes.  The bank could have possibly had its South African systems hacked by cybercriminals to steal the credit card information.  Small time criminals based in Japan may have withdrawn the cash whilst hackers based anywhere in the world from Turkey, to Russia, and Brazil or the United States may well have masterminded the heist.

Tackling Cybercrime in SA_Infographic

Therefore, without a single comprehensive cybercrime and cybersecurity law, that is able to prescribe the complex issues that arise out of cybercrime, organisations that are victims of cybercrime and the organs of state tasked with investigating them, are going to have a much more difficult job on their hands. For this reason we need the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill— a piece of legislation that will be on par with other similar international statutes such as the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.  Through the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, one comprehensive piece of legislation is formulated which can address the realities of present day cybercrime by creating offences and prescribing penalties related to cybercrime, regulating jurisdiction, as well as the powers to investigate, search and gain access to or seize items in relation to cybercrime. The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill also facilitates the regulating aspects of international cooperation in respect to cybercrime investigations, it promotes best practice which requires that points of contact exist in various countries to provide speedy assistance and investigation of cybercrime. It also makes provision for the formation of a number of public and private sector structures in South Africa, that are intended to collaborate and assist with addressing cybersecurity and cybercrime.

South African organisations would do well to embrace, and acquaint themselves with the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bills. It is fundamental that our police force be equipped with the capabilities and authority to investigate the consequences of cybercrime as well as the ability to quickly request and receive the assistance of police elsewhere to investigate crimes that happen outside of our country.

The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill is a necessary piece of legislation that will go a long way to enhancing South African organisations in their ability to fight cybercrime, wherever the criminals may be.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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