British Virgin Islands pass cybercrime act into law

On 12 February, British Virgin Islands Governor Augustus Jaspert amended the Computer Misuse & Cybercrime Act of 2019. Jaspert confirmed that consideration was given to the provisions of the legislation and the concerns of the media about freedom of expression. The major amendments are to protect against nefarious online behaviour, for example identity theft and cyber-bullying. Assurance has been given that these amendments will not be used for the curtailing of freedom of the press or suppression of the freedom of expression within the democratic society. 

Jaspert stated, ‘My view is that freedom of expression can, and should, include the right to appropriately say things that others may not want to hear. Social media and online platforms are necessary in a democracy for discussion, exchange of information and opinions.’ Jaspert has recommended that the director of Public Prosecutions drafts guidelines for fair prosecution of offences under the act, without the compromise of freedom of speech as guaranteed by the constitution.