You will have to be careful when you drop a comment now and we will all have to be careful what we say and what kind of information we pass online as this new bill pending before the house of representatives prescribes a jail term that ranges between 12 months and five years for anyone who uses insults, profane languages or abusive words on Social Media and the internet in general.
Whatever happened to freedom of speech.
Read the full text below
Section 18 sub-section 1 of the Cyber-Crime Bill 2013 states that anybody who “insults publicly, through a computer system or network” commits an offence and will be liable on conviction to imprisonment “for a term of not less than five years or to a fine of not less than N10m or to both fine and imprisonment.”
Also, the bill prescribes a jail term of five years for anyone who circulates or makes any racist and xenophobic material available online.
Cyber-criminals, who hide under the anonymity of the Internet to bully, harass other users of online platforms also risk jail terms when the law comes into full force.
Section 15 of the bill, which deals with issues of cyber-stalking, prescribes a jail term of 12 months for anyone found guilty of posting messages deemed “grossly offensive, indecent, obscene” or messages aimed at “causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety” to another online user.
Besides, anyone who bullies, threatens or harasses another person, through “information and communication technologies” or posts messages online that contains “threats to kidnap or injure” another person will be jailed five years or pay a fine of N15m or both.
According to the bill, Internet service providers will be required to keep all traffic data and subscriber information for the purpose of prosecuting those suspected of committing cyber-crimes.
The service providers are expected to provide necessary assistance towards the identification, apprehension and prosecution of offenders, failure of which makes them liable to fines and or jail terms.
Part V, Section four of the bill prescribes the Office of the National Security Adviser as the co-coordinating body for all security and enforcement agencies when the bill becomes law.
One of the high points of the law is the prescription of death sentence for anyone who commits an offence against what it calls “critical national information infrastructure” which results in death.