Peru Overhauls Criminal Code To Tackle Cyber Crime

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Peru’s government has proposed a raft of new laws to tackle cyber crime, a promising step in a region where law enforcement has failed to keep up with advancing criminal technology.

The Repression of Cyber Crime Law, sent to Congress last month, aims to ensure that anyone who violates security measures to access part or all of a computer system without authorization will face legal sanctions. Anybody accessing information without having been given necessary passwords will automatically be committing a crime, reported La Republica.

The law will impose jail sentences of differing lengths according to different types of information accessed or activities carried out. Those illicitly intercepting computerized data will face up to six years in jail — ten years if the information is classified. Those using the internet to sexually proposition minors will receive sentences of up to eight years, and those distributing child pornography up to 12 years. Identity theft, including phishing and card cloning, will incur a penalty of up to five years.

The law will also target those providing or creating equipment for other people to commit cyber crime, reported El Peruano. Existing laws were 15 years old and needed updating, and judges had complained they were not clear enough, lawyers told the newspaper.

InSight Crime Analysis

Cyber crime has become a major issue in Latin America, with more than half of all companies reporting some kind of attack in 2012. Malware — computer software used to enter and damage or disrupt computer systems — is a particular problem. A study released earlier this year which looked at 20 of 32 members of the Organization of American States found that incidents of cybercrime had risen between 8 percent and 40 percent in different nations from 2011 to 2012.

The study also found that Latin American countries were struggling to keep up with criminals’ advancing use of technology, and specifically cited a lack of adequate legislation as “one of the main impediments to curbing illicit cyber activity in 2012.” Peru’s efforts to overhaul its cyber crimes laws should thus be welcomed.

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