Electronic Crimes Amendment Bill gets Senate approval

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The evolution of cybercrimes and computer related offences has prompted officials in Antigua and Barbuda to move to authorise the police to seek and the Court to grant Search Warrants under the Electronic Crimes Act, to obtain data from electronic devices for use as evidence.

For reasons unknown, under the Electronic Crimes Act of 2013, this important requirement was omitted, perhaps by oversight, according to Senator Mary-Claire Hurst who moved the Bill on Wednesday in the Senate where it was passed.

It was said that the granting of the warrant to give powers of access, search and seizure of the electronic device is important, given that the evidence of the commission of offences under the Act is likely to be stored in data on the electronic device used to commit the offence.

The offences under the Act include: access to or interference with an electronic system or network; sending offensive messages through communication services, etc; identity theft; electronic forgery; electronic fraud; violation of privacy; misuse of encryption; child pornography; disabling or obtaining access to a sensitive electronic system; electronic terrorism; harassment utilising means of electronic system; false websites and spam; and unauthorised access to code.

A copy of the schedule which outlines what the warrant should contain forms part of the Bill which can be found at http://gazette.laws.gov.ag/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Electronic-Crime-Amendment-Bill-2019.pdf and will be included also in the legislation when passed.

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