On September 12, Peru’s Congress approved [es] the IT Crimes Act, one that has generated serious questions since the release of its Pre Dictamen [es]. This has been based not only on the assumption that a good part of the text was copied from various sources, but also because it constitutes a likely threat to privacy and freedom of expression on the Internet [es].
Despite criticisms [es], the bill, known informally as the Beingolea Act [es] (named after Alberto Beingolea, original proponent of the bill), continued along its course and was approved with 79 votes in favor and none against. Congress reached a final text and voted in what many felt was a quick and questionable process.
The text of the law [es] (filtered) states that its objective is “to prevent and sanction illicit practices that affect computer systems and data, and other legal rights of criminal relevance, committed through the use of information or communication technologies, in order to ensure the effective fight against cyber crimes.” The law establishes sentences of up to ten years in prison for those who commit the offenses, which include crimes against data and computer systems, cyber crimes against sexual indemnity and freedom, and cyber crimes against the privacy and secrecy of communications, among others.
The penalties applied to each offense vary, meaning if someone commits a crime against data and computer systems, a measure written so vaguely that it could refer to various perfectly legal activities, he or she could receive a prison sentence of three to six years. In general, it is easy to see how the police or lawmakers could interpret the law in a way that could be restrictive to the exercise of fundamental rights online.
Despite the dangers that this legislation carries, there have not been as many reactions on the Internet as expected. Twitter user Blackhand @Yonzy commented on some of the legal text’s shortcomings:
#CyberCrimeLaw if I built a database of people with information freely available, am I committing a crime, @CongresoPeru?
— BlackHand (@yonsy) September 16, 2013