Grenada strengthens its electronic legislation

The Grenada Parliament has approved a number of legislations that not only provide for persons to legally conduct transactions online, but also provides for the Police to charge persons who commit electronic criminal offences.

Chief among the legislation is the Electronic Crimes Bill which now among other things makes it an offence to send offensive messages electronically publicly, especially via social media such as Facebook and twitter; engage in electronic identity theft; conduct and participate in the distribution of child pornography; engage in prank calls to the law enforcement; participate in electronic stalking; involved or be responsible for spoof and spam emails and other electronic formats; engage in electronic fraud and forgery; participate in electronic terrorism, and to violate another person’s privacy.

With fines ranging from EC$5,000 to EC$300,000 and jail time running between 6 months and 20 years. The laws are expected deter persons from engaging in mischief to persons and the state, said Minister responsible for Information Communications and Technology Alvin Dabreo

Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod said that Grenada has finally decided to use technology to fight technology. “We must have laws in place to protect society, especially those who are vulnerable to modern technology,” he said.

“We have a situation where as a state, we have problems when some use the technology to engage in mischief, and we have to put structures in place to ensure that persons and in some cases companies’ characters are not tarnished,” he said.

Elaborating further about electronic defamation, Nimrod said that there are people who insist on saying hurtful things about others especially using social media. “Now with the passage of the electronic crimes bill, a person will be able to take that evidence of the posting and use it as evidence in the court; people have to act responsibly to other,” he said. A person found guilty of electronic defamation will be charged a maximum of EC$100,000 or face three years imprisonment.

Praising the protection, it provides for young children in the area of child pornography, Youth Minister Emmalin Pierre said that the electronic bills call for all to act more responsibly. Child pornography is broad based in definition, and includes the abuse of children online; publishing or transmitting or cause to be published, or transmitted material in an electronic form which depicts a child engaging in a sexually explicit manner. It also mean means to cultivate, entice or induce children to an online relationship with another child or an adult for a sexually explicit act or in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the electronic system.

A person convicted of child pornography can be charged a maximum of EC$200,000 for the first offence and up to EC$300,000 for second offence, while jail time run between 5 and 20 years.

by Linda Straker

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