Justice minister publishes info systems crimes bill

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19 January 2016 | 0

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has published a new bill that deals specifically with crimes in relation to information systems.

The Criminal Justice Bill 2016 for Offences relating to Information Systems makes provision not only for those who would “interference with information systems or with data on such systems,” but also for those would produce, procure or distribute tools to facilitate such interference.

“This important legislation aims to define criminal offences in the area of attacks against information systems and to establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for such offences,” Minister Fitzgerald

The main points of the bill focus on unauthorised accessing of information systems; interference with information systems or with data on such systems; interception of transmission of data to or from information systems; and use of tools to facilitate the commission of these offences relating to information systems.

Importantly, the bill also allows for the prosecution of a body corporate, as well as individuals, where the offences outlined are committed by such.

“This important legislation,” said Minister Fitzgerald, “aims to define criminal offences in the area of attacks against information systems and to establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for such offences.”

“It is vital that we seek to protect citizens, businesses and government structures alike from cyberattacks, which unfortunately represent a growing challenge in the modern technological environment”

The offences carry sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment on conviction on indictment.

The Bill gives effect to provisions of Directive 2013/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 on attacks against information systems which replaced Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA.

The Directive aims to harmonise the criminal law of member states in the area of attacks against information systems and to enhance cooperation between competent authorities, including police forces, in relation to such threats, said a statement announcing the bill. It recognises that attacks against information systems, and in particular attacks linked to organised crime, are a growing problem in the EU and globally, and that there is increasing concern regarding the potential for terrorist or politically motivated attacks against information systems which form part of the critical infrastructure of governments and the public and private sectors generally.

“It is of paramount importance that we seek to safeguard modern information and communication systems and to maintain users’ confidence in the safety and reliability of such systems. This is arguably even more important and appropriate in Ireland which has become somewhat of a global cyber hub given the number of high tech IT and internet-based companies that have major operations here,” said Minister Fitzgerald.

 

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