New Law Would Protect Information From Cyber Criminals

Sunday, September 09 2012 @ 11:30 PM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

The Public Ministry's hands are tied, in combating cyber crime, because for more than eleven months Bill 377 that seeks to criminalize 21 illegal conducts on cyber crime, has been stalled in the Government Commission of the National Assembly.

This initiative introduced by Representative Abraham Martinez and enriched by the Attorney General's Office, is seeking to pursue behaviors that currently can not be sanctioned by law, and it also provides protection to information from the personal, institutional and private sector, which is violated by third parties through electronic or computer means.

The document states that any person who enters an account or violates the password without authorization of its owner, who simulates an identity, or creates a name or identity to commit crimes in different applications that exist, will have a penalty of two to four years in prison.

Furthermore, it is considered as aggravating the fact that these actions undermine the integrity of minors or people with disabilities, and applies a maximum penalty of six years in prison.

The bill would also provide for penalties of two to four years, for those who wrongly report the contents of an e-mail message, or who removes, destroys or obstructs documentation through these means, and who possesses personal recordings, among other violations of the correspondence.

These amendments to the Criminal Code arise after registering consecutive violations of email accounts and social networks of institutions and senior government officials, including the former Minister of the Presidency Jimmy Papadimitriu, the former Director of Public Registry Luis Barria, and the computers of the Security Ministry.

For the special prosecutor against cyber crime, Nayra Fernández, these changes are necessary because the criminals are three steps ahead in technological progress, and what the justice system has to do is position themselves in the lead to counter them.

She explained that the project aims to meet international requirements in combating cyber crime.

"We have to see a law that is in harmony with the realities of the Panamanian infrastructure and protecting sensitive structures and systems, institutions such as the Panama Canal, the water system and electricity, in addition to the metro."

Fernandez said in the last year there was an increase in complaints related to these crimes. During 2011 a total of 20 cases presented to the Special Prosecutor for Computer Crime, while so far in 2012 a total of 34 complaints have been presented.

Given this increase, Fernandez felt the investigative police must be provided with the technical tools required to fight these types of crimes. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Let's see, can we think of anyone who is currently bragging about having a computer full of stolen email? Do you think this moron understands he's literally bragging about having broken the law? When this new law is passed, that will tack on an additional two to four years in prison, on top of what he's already facing for the dozens of complaints pending against him for other, similar crimes. I wonder if every email message would be considered a new "count" or crime. That would be nice. I don't like people who steal the contents of a hard drive in order to extort money from victims. This guy is just another serial criminal, and the justice system is slowly catching up with him. Sooner or later...

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