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THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSACTIONS BILL, 2002
by Derick Swart
 

Part 1

Summary

The Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill was recently published and comments may be made to the Minister of Communications until 20 April 2002.  The overall objective of the Bill is to enable and facilitate electronic transactions by creating legal certainty around transactions and communications conducted electronically.  This bulletin seeks to give a broad overview of the Bill in its current format.

Cluver Markotter will be presenting a series of seminars on the implications of the Bill.  Should you be interested in attending any of these seminars, kindly contact Derick Swart for more information.

The Bill seeks to address the following policy imperatives:
  • bridging the digital divide by developing a National e-Strategy for South Africa;
  • ensuring legal recognition and functional equivalence between electronic and paper-based transactions;
  • promoting public confidence and trust in electronic transactions; and
  • providing supervision of certain service providers.  

Key issues sought to be addressed in the Bill include:

  • Maximising benefits - promotion of universal access, especially for members from previously disadvantaged communities, SMMEs and differently abled people;
  • Legal certainty - providing for the legally‑binding effect of electronic transactions and legal recognition of data messages, electronic signatures and electronic evidence;
  • E-government - encouraging electronic communication with government;
  • Security - the registration of cryptography service providers, the accreditation of electronic signature technologies by Authentication Service Providers, and the protection of critical databases;
  • Protection of individuals - protection of the consumer and of privacy as well as the protection of critical data;
  • Illegal activities and enforcement - creation of new "cyber offences" and cyber-inspectors to administer certain provisions;
  • Effective management of Internet-related issues - establishment of a proper management regime with regard to domain names in the Republic and the limitation of liability of Internet Service Providers.

 

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