COMPUTER MISUSE ACT, 1998

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Unauthorised access to computer.

4. Unauthorised access with criminal intent.

5. Unauthorised modification of computer material.

6. Jurisdiction.

7. Attempt, conspiracy etc.

8. Conviction of lesser offence charged.

9. Enforcement power.

10. Obstruction etc. of police officer.

11. Protection of police etc.

12. Regulations.

17 of 1998,

6 of 2012.

AN ACT to make provision for securing computer and computer material against unauthorised access and for connected purposes.

[Date of commencement: 28th December 1998]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Computer Misuse Act, 1998.

2. Interpretation.

(1) In this Act—

“computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other data processing device, or a group of such interconnected or related devices, performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device or group of such interconnected or related devices;

[Rep and subs by s 2 of Act 6 of 2012 w.e.f. 27 August 2012.]

“computer program” means data representing instructions or statement that, when executed in a computer, causes in a computer to perform a function and includes part of program;

“data” includes any inputs stored or transmitted in computer usable form.

(2) For the purpose of this Act, a person secures access to computer if the person intentionally causes the computer to perform any function.

(3) For the purpose of this Act, a person secures access to program or data held in a computer if by intentionally causing a computer to perform a function the person—

(a) alters or erases the program or data;

(b) adds to the contents of the program or data;

(c) copies or moves the program or data—

(i) to a different location in the storage medium which it is held; or

(ii) to any other storage medium;

(d) uses the program or data;

(e) has the program or data output from the computer in which it is held, whether by having it displayed or in any other manner.

(4) For the purpose of this Act, access of a person to a computer, program or data is unauthorised if—

(a) the person is not entitled to controlled access of the kind in question to the computer or program or data held in a computer; and

(b) the person does not have consent to such access from the person who is entitled to such access.

(5) For the purposes of this Act, a person uses a program held in a computer, if the function the person causes the computer to perform causes the program to be executed or is itself a function of the program.

(6) For the purposes of this Act, in relation to securing access to a program or data, it is immaterial whether the intent was directed at—

(a) a particular program or data;

(b) a program or data of a particular kind,

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

(7) A reference in this Act to programme held in a computer includes a reference to a programme or data held in any removable storage medium which is for the time being in the computer; and a computer is to be regarded as containing a program or data held in any such medium.

3. Unauthorised access to computer.

A person who secures unauthorised access to—

(a) a computer; or

(b) a program or data held in a computer,

is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of R 20,000 and to imprisonment for five years.

4. Unauthorised access with criminal intent.

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