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Lawmakers urged to introduce cybercrime law oversight | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Janine Butcher making a presentation virtually to the Joint Select Committee examining the Cybercrime Bill and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill. (BT)

A concerned citizen on Monday pleaded with lawmakers to place safeguards in the Cybercrime Bill to prevent its abuse through selective prosecution.

Janine Butcher, who made a presentation virtually as the Joint Select Committee continued to examine the Cybercrime Bill and the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill, said that the Bills, specifically the Cybercrime Bill, will heavily affect the way Barbadians continue to use growing technologies, and as such, there must be oversight on the way these technologies are policed for fair and just application of the law.

She said that while lawmakers may be seeking to protect Barbadians, the potential abuse of the legislation should be taken seriously.

Butcher told the committee: “There might be concerns about the potential for abuse of the legislation for political or personal reasons. The expansive powers given to law enforcement agencies should be carefully balanced to prevent misuse. The potential for abuse is a critical consideration while accessing legislation, especially when it grants expansive powers to law enforcement agencies.

“Given the broad scope of the legislation, there may be concerns that it may be used to stifle political dissent. Therefore, safeguards in the law should be in place to prevent the legislation from being misused to target individuals expressing legitimate political concerns or opinions, thus upholding the principles of free speech.”

Butcher further urged safeguards be put in place to help combat any biases or other forms of discrimination given the extra powers the police will have to investigate cyber matters.

“The legislation must be applied uniformly and without discrimination,” she said. “There should be safeguards to prevent selective enforcement, based on political affiliations, personal vendettas, and other non-criminal motivations… everything that goes with being unbiased.

“The legislation should [also] include provisions to protect whistleblowers who may be disclosing information in the public interest. This prevents the legislation from being used against individuals seeking to expose corruption or misconduct.”



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