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Published On: Wed, Mar 20th, 2024

CyberCrime Bill 2023 Referred to Assembly’s Business Committee for Review

The CyberCrime Bill 2023 has taken a significant step forward as it has been referred to the Assembly’s Business Committee (ABC) for review. This move comes as the government aims to tackle cybercrime by enhancing provisions and establishing procedural measures for obtaining electronic evidence and international cooperation. Led by the speaker, the ABC now has three days to refer the bill to a committee for further examination. The committee will engage in consultations with relevant state and non-state actors before submitting its report to the plenary during future sittings.

According to Communications and Digital Economy Minister Ousman Bah, the bill is crucial in addressing the increasing use of the internet by criminals to commit economic crimes, intellectual property theft, cyber warfare, and espionage. Minister Bah stressed that the lack of a comprehensive cybercrime law has allowed criminals to exploit the borderless nature of the internet and evade justice. He believes that the proposed legislation, along with international cooperation, will expedite the fight against online crimes.

However, concerns have been raised by civil society actors, including the Gambia Press Union, who worry that the cybercrime law could potentially restrict press freedom and free speech. They are urging lawmakers to subject the bill to extensive public consultations to ensure any flaws or limitations are addressed.

If passed, the law would provide law enforcement agencies, including intelligence agencies, with a legitimate basis to monitor and intercept specific communications in real-time. This measure would be applicable to persons or premises under investigation, particularly when there are reasonable grounds to believe that trafficked data is associated with specific communications. The aim is to strengthen the country’s ability to combat cybercrime effectively.

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