The Department of Justice has published new legislation aimed at tackling cybercrime. The Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information Systems) Bill 2016 will transpose the EU Cybercrime Directive into Irish law. The aim of the Directive is to harmonise EU Member States’ criminal laws on attacks against information systems and to enhance co-operation between the relevant authorities.

Launching the legislation, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Ms Frances Fitzgerald, commented: “This important legislation aims to define criminal offences in the area of attacks against information systems and to establish effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for such offences.”

“Information system” is given a broad definition and includes a device involved in the processing of data and its associated data. The new offences created in the Bill focus on:

  • unauthorised accessing of information systems;
  • interference with information systems or with data on such systems;
  • interception of transmission of data to or from information systems; and
  • use of tools to facilitate the commission of these offences relating to information systems

The offences carry maximum sentences of between 5 and 10 years imprisonment, with the lengthier sentences reserved for the more serious of interference with information systems.

The Bill, once enacted, will be of paramount importance in terms of combatting cybercrime and seeking to safeguard modern information and communication systems both at a national and EU-wide level.