Log In

Reset Password

Legislation to bring heavy penalties for hacking approved

Legislation to address computer crime was passed in the House of Assembly on Friday (File photograph)

Legislation to help battle cybercrime in Bermuda has been approved by the House of Assembly.

The Computer Misuse Act 2024 includes a $1 million fine or life imprisonment for offences that cause “a significant risk of serious damage to human welfare or serious damage to national security”.

Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, told MPs on Friday that over the past five years the Department of Public Prosecutions has prosecuted only two cases under the existing legislation.

He added that the Computer Misuse Act 1996 was “not conducive” to how computers are operated today, but the amendments would give police and the DPP the powers needed to investigate and prosecute computer-related offences.

“This is to bring the legislation into more current status,” Mr Weeks said.

Offences under the legislation include unauthorised access to computer material, unauthorised access with intent to impede the operation of a computer and unauthorised acts that cause or create a risk of serious damage.

“Damage” was defined in the legislation as damage to human welfare, the environment, the economy or the national security of any country.

It also makes it an offence to adapt, supply or offer to supply any article to assist in computer crime.

Mr Weeks said the crimes covered in the legislation were serious and should attract significant penalties.

Jarion Richardson, the Leader of the Opposition, said the advancement of technology meant that a large part of modern life was determined by activity on servers and in cloud computers and irreparable damage could be done by bad actors.

He added that it was vital that the island keeps up with legislative changes to prevent serious harm and maintain Bermuda’s international reputation.

However, Mr Richardson said, he was always concerned by clauses in the legislation that granted ministers regulatory power.

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, responded that flexibility was needed to allow the minister to respond to rapidly changing conditions in the industry.

“The subject of technology is a fluid one, and this Act is drafted with that in mind,” she said, adding that the clause was not unusual.

While the Cybersecurity Act 2024 was also included on the order sheet, the legislation was not debated during Friday’s sitting.

The new Act would set up a Cybersecurity Advisory Board and a National Cybersecurity Unit, with a National Cybersecurity Incident Response Team.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 20, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated May 20, 2024 at 7:49 am)

Legislation to bring heavy penalties for hacking approved

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon