Know Your Rights: The right to protection from cyber crimes

Phones, laptops, tablets and other computer devices which can be connected to the internet are possible avenues for the commitment of crime. Offenses related to computer usage are known as cybercrimes and are punishable under Law Nº 60/2018 of 22/8/2018 on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes.

Article 4 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes says that computer and computer system service providers have the duty to inform their clients of cybercrime trends. Service providers must also provide clients with procedures to report cybercrimes, inform clients of measures to protect themselves from cybercrimes, and report any abuse to cyber security.

An example of abuse to cyber security is unauthorised access to a computer or computer system data. According to article 16 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes, unauthorized access means that the offender does not have consent from an entitled person, or is not permitted to access or control a computer or computer system data.

Cybercrimes can also be committed by way of interception. According article 3 paragraph 5 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes, interception is “listening to, recording, monitoring or surveillance of the content of communications, including procuring of the content of data, either directly, through access and use of a computer or a computer system or indirectly, through the use of electronic eavesdropping or tapping devices, when communication is occurring.”

It is also considered a cybercrime if one publishes pornographic images through a computer or a computer system. Proposing, grooming, or soliciting through a computer system or network, to meet a child for the purposes of engaging in sexual activities is also a cybercrime. This is according to article 34 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes.

Another type of cybercrime is cyber-stalking. According to article 35 of law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes, cyber-stalking is the intentional use of a computer or a computer system to harass or threaten with the intent to place another person in distress or fear. One way of doing this is displaying, distributing or publishing indecent documents, sounds, pictures, or videos.

The use of computer or computer system to publish rumours is also considered a cybercrime. This is because, according to article 39 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes, rumours are likely to cause fear, rebellion, violence, or cause someone to lose their credibility.

Impersonation is another type of cybercrime. According to article 40 of the law on prevention and punishment of cybercrimes, impersonation is the intentional use of someone’s identity over the internet “in bad faith to profit, mislead or destroy reputation or otherwise, if such identity is similar, undistinguishable, or confusingly similar to an existing name or description that belongs to another person or organ.”

Cybercrimes are varied. They are considered grave. The minimum term of imprisonment of a cybercrime is set at six months while some cybercrimes lead to as many as fifteen years in prison.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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