Thursday, 18 August 2016

Should people be really concerned about the new Cyber-Crime Act?

BOTH daily newspapers reported Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed the passing of Papua New Guinea’s Cybercrime legislation that will protect the rights of people around the nation and strengthen public debate in the nation.
"It is only the people who break laws, incite violence, and who bully or slander, who have to be concerned that their actions will see them become the subject of a criminal investigation."
"I dismiss the claims raised by individuals who hide behind fake online names by night, but by day pretend to be neutral in their jobs."
"There are even a few individuals at some mainstream media who fit into this category and it is in their own interest to show courage and declare their political allegiances."
"Indeed I call on all people who hide behind fake names and hidden profiles to come forward and present your views under your real names."
"If you feel so strongly about your views we have an election coming up in a matter of months and that is your chance to seek real public endorsement for your views."
"I hope that the Internet opens up new channels of debate in 2017 than have ever been experienced in elections in the past, and help people to have more information when they vote."
End//....... (extracts from post courier article)
My Response:
Now anyone who read both papers will note the articles on the issue are near identical word for word which raises the question was the article authored by the little man behind the Prime Minister.
While there have been cases of abuse on the internet it has also been instrumental in exposing official corruption by politicians who misuse millions in public funds and abuse the high office they hold to avoid, frustrate or delay their own criminal prosecution.
It has also been instrumental in exposing those in high office for issuing misleading and false statements.
O'Neill failed to make a single reference to the more important provisions of the Cyber-crime Act that seek to address serious offences relating to Child Pornography, Electronic Fraud/Electronic Forgery and Identify Theft.
He instead focused on the prosecution of people using fake accounts who have in recent times express their discontent to his mishandling of the economy, countless misleading statements and avoiding the normal lawful process to clear himself of criminal charges pending against him.
Should people be concerned about new Cyber-Crime Act? The short answer is No. While a number of provisions relating to actual crimes like Child Pornography, Electronic Fraud and Forgery are justifiable and reasonable but to criminalize copy right, trademark infringement, SPAM and defamatory publications, imposing sentences of up to 25 years or fines of K100,000 is absurd (silly).
While O'Neill welcomes the new cyber crime in guise to prosecute those who advocate public discontent or make defamatory remarks against him I welcome the opportunity to explain why specific provisions in my view are unconstitutional offending against a number provisions in the Constitution. Any arrest or charges laid under the new Act would only expedite the process to have the Supreme Court determine it unconstitutional and to no legal effect.
Another lost cause by O'Neill Government.

Bryn Krammer

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