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Cybercrimes under the Ugandan Computer Misuse Act of 2011

Under the Ugandan Computer Misuse Act of 2011

Unauthorised access.[1]

(1) A person who intentionally accesses or intercepts any program or data without authority or permission to do so commits an offence.

(2) A person who intentionally and without authority to do so, interferes with data in a manner that causes the program or data to be modified, damaged, destroyed or rendered ineffective, commits an offence.

(3) A person who unlawfully produces, sells, offers to sell, procures for use, designs, adapts for use, distributes or possesses any device, including a computer program or a component which is designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data or performs any of those acts with regard to a password, access code or any other similar kind of data, commits an offence.

(4) A person who utilises any device or computer program specified in subsection (3) in order to unlawfully overcome security measures designed to protect the program or data or access to that program or data, commits an offence.

(5) A person who accesses any information system so as to constitute a denial including a partial denial of service to legitimate users commits an offence.

(6) The intent of a person to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at—

(a) any particular program or data;

(b) a program or data of any particular kind; or

(c) a program or data held in any particular computer.

(7) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both.\

Access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a further offence.[2]

A person who commits any acts specified under section 12 with intent to—

commit any other offence; or

facilitate the commission of any other offence, commits an offence. he offence to be facilitated under subsection (1)(b) may be one committed by the person referred to in subsection (1) or by any other person.

It is immaterial for the purposes of this section whether the act under this section is committed on the same occasion as the offence under section 12 or on any future occasion.

A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both.

Unauthorised modification of computer material.[3]

A person who—

does any act which causes an unauthorised modification of the contents of any computer; and

has the requisite intent and the requisite knowledge at the time when he or she does the act, commits an offence.

For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) the requisite intent is an intent to cause a modification of the contents of any computer and by doing so—

to impair the operation of any computer;

to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer; or

to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data.

The intent under subsection (1)(b) need not be directed at—

any particular computer; any particular program or data or a program or data of any particular kind; or

any particular modification or a modification of any particular kind.

For the purposes of subsection (1)(b) the requisite knowledge is knowledge that any modification that the person intends to cause is unauthorised.

It is immaterial for the purposes of this section whether an unauthorised modification or any intended effect of it of a kind specified in subsection (2) is intended to be permanent or temporary.

A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction, to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both.

Unauthorised use or interception of computer service.[4]

Subject to subsection (2), a person who knowingly—

secures access to any computer without authority for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, any computer service;

intercepts or causes to be intercepted without authority, directly or indirectly, any function of a computer by means of an electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device whether similar or not; or

uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly, the computer or any other device for the purpose of committing an offence under paragraph (a) or (b), commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both; and in the case of a subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both. If any damage is caused as a result of an offence under this section, a person convicted of the offence is liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred and sixty eight currency points or imprisonment not exceeding seven years or both.

For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial that the unauthorised access or interception is not directed at—

any particular program or data;

a program or data of any kind; or

a program or data held in any particular computer.

Unauthorised obstruction of use of computer.[5]

A person who, knowingly and without authority or lawful excuse—

interferes with or interrupts or obstructs the lawful use of, a computer; or

impedes or prevents access to or impairs the usefulness or effectiveness of any program or data stored in a computer,

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both; and in the case of a subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both.

Unauthorised disclosure of access code.[6]

A person who knowingly and without authority discloses any password, access code or any other means of gaining access to any program or data held in any computer knowing or having reason to believe that it is likely to cause loss, damage or injury to any person or property, commits an offence. A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both; and in the case of a subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both.

Unauthorised disclosure of information.[7]

Except for the purposes of this Act or for any prosecution for an offence under any written law or in accordance with an order of court, a person who has access to any electronic data, record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or any other material, shall not disclose to any other person or use for any other purpose other than that for which he or she obtained access.

A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and forty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding ten years or both.

Electronic fraud.[8]

A person who carries out electronic fraud commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both.

For the purposes of this section “electronic fraud” means deception, deliberately performed with the intention of securing an unfair or unlawful gain where part of a communication is sent through a computer network or any other communication and another part through the action of the victim of the offence or the action is performed through a computer network or both.

Enhanced punishment for offences involving protected computers.[9]

Where access to any protected computer is obtained in the course of the commission of an offence under section 12, 14, 15 or

the person convicted of an offence is, instead of the punishment prescribed in those sections, liable on conviction, to imprisonment for life. or the purposes of subsection (1), a computer is treated as a “protected computer” if the person committing the offence knows or ought reasonably to have known, that the computer or program or data is used directly in connection with or necessary for—

the security, defence or international relations of Uganda;

the existence or identity of a confidential source of information relating to the enforcement of a criminal law;

the provision of services directly related to communications infrastructure, banking and financial services, public utilities or public key infrastructure; or

the protection of public safety including systems related to essential emergency services such as police, civil defence and medical services.

For the purposes of any prosecution under this section, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the accused has the requisite knowledge referred to in subsection (2).

Abetment and attempts.[10]

A person who abets another person in committing an offence under this Act, commits that offence and is liable on conviction to the punishment prescribed for the offence.

Any person who attempts to commit any offence under this Act commits that offence and is liable on conviction to the punishment prescribed for the offence.

Attempt defined.[11]

When a person, intending to commit an offence, begins to put his or her intention into execution by means adapted to its fulfillment, and manifests his or her intention by some overt act, but does not fulfill his or her intention to such an extent as to commit the offence, he or she is deemed to attempt to commit the offence.

It is immaterial—

except so far as regards punishment, whether the offender does all that is necessary on his or her part for completing the commission of the offence, or whether the complete fulfillment of his or her intention is prevented by circumstances independent of his or her will, or whether the offender desists of his or her own motion from the further prosecution of his or her intention; or

that by reason of circumstances not known to the offender it is impossible in fact to commit the offence.

Child pornography.[12]

A person who—

1 a) produces child pornography for the purposes of its distribution through a computer;

(b)        offers or makes available child pornography through a computer;

(c)        distributes or transmits child pornography through a computer;

(d)        procures child pornography through a computer for himself or herself or another person; or

(e)        unlawfully possesses child pornography on a computer, commits an offence.

A person who makes available pornographic materials to a child commits an offence.

For the purposes of this section “child pornography” includes pornographic material that depicts—

a child engaged in sexually suggestive or explicit conduct;

a person appearing to be a child engaged in sexually suggestive or explicit conduct; or   realistic images representing children engaged in sexually suggestive or explicit conduct.

A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three hundred and sixty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years or both.

Cyber harassment.[13]

A person who commits cyber harassment is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy two currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

For purposes of this section cyber harassment is the use of a computer for any of the following purposes—

making any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent;

threatening to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or

knowingly permits any electronic communications device to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in this section.

Offensive communication.[14]

Any person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanor and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

Cyber stalking.[15]

Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly uses electronic communication to harass another person and makes a threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or to a member of that person’s immediate family commits the crime of cyber stalking and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

Compensation.[16]

Where a person is convicted under this Act, the court shall in addition to the punishment provided therein, order such person to pay by way of compensation to the aggrieved party, such sum as is in the opinion of the court just, having regard to the loss suffered by the aggrieved party; and such order shall be a decree under the provisions of the Civil Procedure Act, and shall be executed in the manner provided under that Act.

 

[1] Section 12 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011.

[2] Section 13

[3] Section 14

[4] Section 15

[5] Section 16

[6] Section 17

[7] Section 18

[8] Section 19

[9] Section 20

[10] Section 21

[11] Section 22

[12] Section 23

[13] Section 24

[14] Section 25

[15] Section 26

[16] Section 27

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