Impact | Negative
Probability | High
Civicus Rating | Repressed
The ruling party Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) has presented a Special Cyber-crime Bill which seeks to punish with prison sentences of two to four years those who “publish or disseminate false, distorted information that causes alarm, anxiety and fear in the population”.
The punishment can rise to five years in cases deemed to “incite hatred and violence”. The bill also criminalizes a very diverse set of crimes from unauthorized access and the alteration or damage of computer systems, to identity replacement, use of personal data, fraud and sexual harassment in the digital environment.
The President of the Legislative Assembly, Gustavo Porras, declared the aim of the bill to prevent cybernetic tools from being used to harm anyone’s “image, honor, and family”. However, civil society has warned that the ambiguity in the definition of the punishable acts can lead in practice to criminalizing the daily use of information and communication technologies, and also to threatening the exercise of freedom of expression through criticism, parody, and satire. The bill has already been passed by the Justice, Education and Infrastructure Committees and could be sanctioned before the end of October.