BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 17, 2020– The long-awaited Cyber Crime Bill was finally introduced in the House of Representatives during Wednesday’s meeting. The Cyber Crime Bill 2020, which was read for the first time, is aimed at combating various forms of cybercrime by categorizing certain acts of internet wrongdoing as offenses and prescribing penalties for such offenses, as well as a process of investigation, and prosecution for such cybercrimes.
In Belize, Facebook and various other social media outlets have been used to perpetrate hostile acts of cyberbullying and the distribution of revenge porn, with women being the predominant victims of such acts. Various leaked nude photos and images/video footage of private acts of sexual intercourse between persons have been widely published online and all over social media by thousands of persons as a means of entertainment, or in specific instances, for purposes of revenge.
This, along with cyberstalking, identity theft, hacking, and phishing schemes, is becoming widespread in Belize’s online domain. These somewhat covert actions, which are at times difficult to trace, have been widely criticised by the country’s social partners.
In February of this year, in response to the concerns of these social institutions, as well as a huge public outcry, The Ministry of National Security carried out a consultation to push forward the creation of this bill.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, in commenting on the bill, said, “I am not seeking to pass it all at once; this must go to the House committee so that members of the public can have a chance to comment, but I think from now, I can speculate with some degree of assurance that there will be across-the-House support for this legislation, which, I repeat, is long overdue.”