Mauritius: The Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Bill to Shield the Population Against Cybercriminals

press release

The Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Bill to shield the population against cybercriminals, affirms Minister Balgobin

GIS - 09 November 2021:The Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Bill is of utmost importance for the future of our people, of our economy and of our Republic. It is aligned with Government's vision to transform Mauritius into a high income, inclusive and green economy, including a safe and secure cyberspace in our jurisdiction.

The Minister of Information Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr. Darsanand Balgobin, made this statement this evening, during his intervention pertaining to the introduction of the new Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Bill, in the National Assembly.

Minister Balgobin stated that in response to the unprecedented threats from rogue hackers and all sorts of cybercriminals, Government is unveiling and proposing a new piece of legislation to take urgent actions, to have the required tools to combat cyber threats and to protect each and every citizen of our country.

Speaking about the rising number of victims to cybercrimes, he pointed out that the number has increased by five times than in 2018 according to the Mauritian Cybercrime Online Reporting System. Since January 2021 to date, some 2320 cases have been reported as compared to 426 cases in 2018, he indicated.

The Minister recalled that Mauritius has maintained its 1st position in Africa for the last seven years in the International Telecommunication Union's Global Cybersecurity Index and is currently placed 17th globally.

On that note, he underscored Government's aim to position Mauritius among the top secure nations by introducing a forward-looking and pro-active legislation, capable of addressing issues arising from evolving threats.

As for the New Bill, the Minister of Technology asserted that it will provide a new and comprehensive legal instrument for the country's cyber future, one that is secure, resilient, collaborative and adaptable.

The Bill, he emphasised, highlights three fundamental priorities namely, better fight cybercrime, strengthen our cyber-resilience and strengthen international cooperation.

He further informed that the new Bill has been drafted taking into consideration the commitments taken by the country as a party to international conventions: the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime signed in November 2013 and ratified in March 2014 and the African Union - Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection ratified in March 2018.

In addition, to ensure that this law is benchmarked with the highest of international standards in the sector and that every clause in this Bill is in line with the principles of preservation of fundamental liberties, the Council of Europe was consulted at various stages of the drafting and finalisation of this Bill, added Mr.Balgobin.

The Bill, he underlined, aims at developing a more robust framework for the protection of the Mauritian cyberspace by providing new criminal offences related to cybersecurity and cybercrime and by having reinforced provisions for protection of critical information infrastructure and implementation of a policy in that regard.

It also aims at improved investigation techniques and international cooperation as well as mutual legal assistance in cybercrime matters and setting up of a National Cybersecurity Committee, he said.

In his concluding remarks, Minister Balgobin reaffirmed the seriousness of Government to combat cybercrime in all its forms and stressed that the whole intent and purpose of the legislation is to shield the population against cybercriminals.

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