Computer Misuse Act


Published: 2003-06-16

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Computer Misuse Act
COMPUTER MISUSE [CH. 107A – 1



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CHAPTER 107A

COMPUTER MISUSE

LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES

1 – 15 LRO 1/2006



ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Unauthorised access to computer material.
4. Access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of offence.
5. Unauthorised modification of computer material.
6. Unauthorised use or interception of computer service.
7. Unauthorised obstruction of use of computer.
8. Unauthorised disclosure of access code.
9. Enhanced punishment for offences involving protected computers.
10. Incitement, abetments and attempts punishable as full offences.
11. Territorial scope of offences under this Act.
12. Commencement of proceedings.
13. Order for payment of compensation.
14. Saving for investigations.
15. Police powers.
16. Power of police officer to access computer and data.
17. Forfeiture.

COMPUTER MISUSE [CH. 107A – 3



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CHAPTER 107A

COMPUTER MISUSE

An Act to make provisions securing computer
material against unauthorised access or modification
and for connected purposes.

[Assent 11th April, 2003]
[Commencement 16th June 2003 ]

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1. This Act may be cited as the Computer Misuse
Act.

2. (1) In this Act —
“computer” means an electronic, magnetic, optical,

electrochemical, or other data processing
device, or a group of such interconnected or
related devices, performing logical, arithmetic,
or storage functions, and includes any data
storage facility or communications facility
directly related to or operating in conjunction
with such device or group of such
interconnected or related devices, but does not
include —
(a) an automated typewriter or typesetter;
(b) a portable hand held calculator;
(c) a similar device which is non-

programmable or which does not contain
any data storage facility; or

(d) such other device as the Minister may, by
notice published in the Gazette, prescribe;

“computer output” or “output” means a statement or
representation (whether in written, printed,
pictorial, graphical or other form) purporting to
be a statement or representation of fact —
(a) produced by a computer; or
(b) accurately translated from a statement or

representation so produced;

2 of 2003

S.I. 42/2003

Short title.

Interpretation.

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“computer service” includes computer time, data
processing and the storage or retrieval of data;

“damage” means, except for the purposes of section
12, any impairment to a computer or the
integrity or availability of data, a program or
system, or information, that —
(a) causes economic loss aggregating ten

thousand dollars in value, or such other
amount as the Minister may, by notice
published in the Gazette, prescribe except
that any such loss incurred or accrued more
than one year after the date of the offence
in question shall not be taken into account;

(b) modifies or impairs, or potentially modifies
or impairs, the medical examination,
diagnosis, treatment or care of one or more
persons;

(c) causes or threatens physical injury or death
to any person;

(d) threatens public health or public safety; or
(e) threatens physical damage to a computer;

“data” means representations of information or of
concepts in a form suitable for use in a
computer;

“electronic, acoustic, mechanical or other device”
means any device or apparatus that is used or is
capable of being used to intercept any function
of a computer;

“function” includes logic, control, arithmetic,
deletion, storage and retrieval and
communication or telecommunication to, from
or within a computer;

“intercept”, in relation to a function of a computer,
includes listening to or recording a function of a
computer, or acquiring the substance, meaning
or purport thereof;

“program” or “computer program” means data
representing instructions or statements that,
when executed in a computer, causes the
computer to perform a function; and a reference
in this Act to a program includes a reference to
part of a program.

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(2) For the purposes of this Act, a person “secures
access” to any program or data held in a computer if he
causes a computer to perform any function in relation to
such program or data, that —

(a) alters or erases it;
(b) copies or moves it to any storage medium other

than that in which it is held or to a different
location in the storage medium in which it is
held;

(c) uses it; or
(d) causes it to be output from the computer in

which it is held (whether by having it displayed
or in any other manner),

and references in this Act to securing access or to an intent
to secure such access shall be construed accordingly.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) (c), a person
“uses” a program if the function he causes the computer to
perform causes the program to be executed or is itself a
function of the program.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2) (d), the form
in which any program or data is output is immaterial
(including in particular whether or not it represents a form
in which, in the case of a program, it is capable of being
executed or, in the case of data, it is capable of being
processed by a computer).

(5) For the purposes of this Act, access of any kind
by any person to any program or data held in a computer is
“unauthorised” if —

(a) he is not himself entitled to control access of the
kind in question to the program or data; and

(b) he does not have consent to such access from
any person who is so entitled.

(6) A reference in this Act to “any program or data
held in a computer” includes a reference to such program
or data held in any removable storage medium which is for
the time being in the computer; and a computer is to be
regarded as containing any program or data held in any
such medium.

(7) For the purposes of this Act, a “modification of
the contents of any computer” takes place if, by the
operation of any function of the computer concerned or any
other computer —

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2006

(a) any program or data held in the computer
concerned is altered or erased;

(b) any program or data is added to its contents; or
(c) any act occurs which impairs the normal

operation of any computer,
and any act which contributes towards causing such a
modification shall be regarded as causing it.

(8) Any modification referred to in subsection (7) is
unauthorised if —

(a) the person whose act causes it is not himself
entitled to determine whether the modification
should be made; and

(b) he does not have consent to the modification
from any person who is so entitled.

PART II
OFFENCES

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), any person who,
without authority, knowingly causes a computer to perform
any function for the purpose of securing access to any
program or data held in any computer shall be guilty of an
offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine
not exceeding five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and
imprisonment and, in the case of a second or subsequent
conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
under this section, a person convicted of the offence shall
be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial
that the act in question is not directed at —

(a) any particular program or data;
(b) a program or data of any kind; or
(c) a program or data held in any particular

computer.

Unauthorised
access to
computer
material.

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4. (1) Any person who causes a computer to
perform any function for the purpose of securing access to
any program or data held in any computer with intent to
commit an offence (whether by himself or by any other
person) to which this section applies shall be guilty of an
offence.

(2) This section shall apply to an offence involving
property, fraud, dishonesty or which causes bodily harm
and which is punishable on conviction with imprisonment
for a term of not less than two years.

(3) Any person guilty of an offence under this
section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not
exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

(4) A person may be guilty of an offence under this
section even though the facts are such that the commission
of the further offence is impossible.

(5) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial
whether —

(a) the access referred to in subsection (1) is
authorised or unauthorised;

(b) the offence to which this section applies is
committed at the same time when the access is
secured or at any other time.

5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), any person who
does any act which he knows will cause an unauthorised
modification of the contents of any computer shall be
guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to
both such fine and imprisonment and, in the case of a
second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding
twenty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding three years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
under this section, a person convicted of the offence shall
be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial
that the act in question is not directed at —

Access with
intent to commit
or facilitate
commission of
offence.

Unauthorised
modification of
computer
material.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS LRO 1/2006

(a) any particular program or data;
(b) a program or data of any kind; or
(c) a program or data held in any particular

computer.
(4) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial

whether an unauthorised modification is, or is intended to
be, permanent or merely temporary.

6. (1) Subject to subsection (2), any person who
knowingly —

(a) secures access without authority to any
computer for the purpose of obtaining, directly
or indirectly, any computer service;

(b) intercepts or causes to be intercepted without
authority, directly or indirectly, any function of
a computer by means of an electro-magnetic,
acoustic, mechanical or other device; or

(c) uses or causes to be used, directly or indirectly,
the computer or any other device for the purpose
of committing an offence under paragraph (a) or
(b),

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
years or to both such fine and imprisonment and, in the
case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not
exceeding twenty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
under this section, a person convicted of the offence shall
be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(3) For the purposes of this section, it is immaterial
that the unauthorised access or interception is not directed
at —

(a) any particular program or data;
(b) a program or data of any kind; or
(c) a program or data held in any particular

computer.
7. (1) Any person who, knowingly and without

authority or lawful excuse —

Unauthorised use
or interception of
computer service.

Unauthorised
obstruction of
use of computer.

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(a) interferes with, or interrupts or obstructs the
lawful use of, a computer; or

(b) impedes or prevents access to, or impairs the
usefulness or effectiveness of, any program or
data stored in a computer,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on
summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
years or to both such fine and imprisonment and, in the
case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not
exceeding twenty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for
a term not exceeding five years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
under this section, a person convicted of the offence shall
be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

8. (1) Any person who knowingly and without
authority discloses any password, access code or any other
means of gaining access to any program or data held in any
computer shall be guilty of an offence if he did so —

(a) for any wrongful gain;
(b) for any unlawful purpose; or
(c) knowing that it is likely to cause wrongful loss

to any person.
(2) Any person guilty of an offence under

subsection (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a
fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment
for a term not exceeding three years or to both such fine
and imprisonment and, in the case of a second or
subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding twenty
thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not
exceeding five years or to both such fine and
imprisonment.

9. (1) Where access to any protected computer is
obtained in the course of the commission of an offence
under section 3, 5, 6 or 7, the person shall be tried on
information and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not
exceeding one hundred thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

Unauthorised
disclosure of
access code.

Enhanced
punishment for
offences
involving
protected
computers.

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(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a computer
shall be treated as a “protected computer” if the person
committing the offence knew, or ought reasonably to have
known, that the computer or program or data is used
directly in connection with or necessary for —

(a) the security, defence or international relations of
The Bahamas;

(b) the existence or identity of a confidential source
of information relating to the enforcement of a
criminal law;

(c) the provision of services directly related to
communications infrastructure, banking and
financial services, public utilities, public
transportation or public key infrastructure; or

(d) the protection of public safety including systems
related to essential emergency services such as
police, civil defence and medical services.

(3) For the purposes of any prosecution under this
section, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved,
that the accused has the requisite knowledge referred to in
subsection (2) if there is, in respect of the computer,
program or data, an electronic or other warning exhibited
to the accused stating that unauthorised access to that
computer, program or data attracts an enhanced penalty
under this section.

10. (1) Any person who incites, solicits or abets the
commission of or who attempts to commit or does any act
preparatory to or in furtherance of the commission of any
offence under this Act shall be guilty of that offence and
shall be liable on summary conviction to the punishment
provided for the full offence.

(2) For an offence to be committed under this
section, it is immaterial where the full offence in question
took place.

PART III
MISCELLANEOUS AND GENERAL

11. (1) This section has effect to supplement the
provisions of the Penal Code in relation to the jurisdiction
of the courts of The Bahamas to try offences which do not
take place wholly in The Bahamas.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) the provisions of the
Act shall have effect, in relation to any person, whatever

Incitement,
abetments and
attempts
punishable as full
offences.

Territorial scope
of offences under
this Act.

Ch. 84.

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his nationality or citizenship, outside as well as within The
Bahamas.

(3) Where an offence under this Act is committed
by any person in any place outside The Bahamas, he may
be dealt with as if the offence had been committed within
The Bahamas.

(4) For the purposes of this section, this Act shall
apply if, for the offence in question —

(a) the accused was in The Bahamas at the material
time; or

(b) the computer, program or data was in The
Bahamas at the material time.

12. (1) Notwithstanding any Act to the contrary
prescribing the time limit within which summary
proceedings may be commenced and subject to subsection
(2), proceedings for an offence under this Act may be
brought within a period of twelve months from the date on
which evidence sufficient in the opinion of the Attorney-
General to warrant a prosecution came to his knowledge.

(2) No such proceedings shall be brought by virtue
of this section more than three years after the commission
of the offence.

(3) For the purposes of this section, a certificate
signed by or on behalf of the Attorney-General and stating
the date on which evidence sufficient in his opinion to
warrant the commencement of proceedings came to his
knowledge shall be conclusive evidence of that fact.

13. (1) The court before which a person is convicted
of any offence under this Act may make an order against
him for the payment by him of a sum to be fixed by the
court by way of compensation to any person for any
damage caused to his computer, program or data by the
offence for which the sentence is passed.

(2) Any claim by a person for damages sustained by
reason of the offence shall be deemed to have been
satisfied to the extent of any amount which has been paid
to him under an order for compensation, but the order shall
not prejudice any right to a civil remedy for the recovery of
damages beyond the amount of compensation paid under
the order.

(3) An order of compensation under this section
shall be recoverable as a civil debt.

Commencement
of proceedings.

Order for
payment of
compensation.

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14. Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a police
officer, a person authorised in writing by the
Commissioner of Police under section 16(1) or any other
duly authorised law enforcement officer from lawfully
conducting investigations pursuant to his powers conferred
under any written law.

15. (1) A police officer may arrest without warrant
any person who has committed or is committing, or whom
the police officer with reasonable cause suspects to have
committed, or to be committing, an offence under this Act.

(2) Any power of seizure conferred on a police
officer who has entered premises by virtue of a warrant
issued under section 70 of the Criminal Procedure Code in
relation to an offence under this Act, or any related
inchoate offence, shall be construed as including a power
to require any information relating to the warrant which is
held in a computer and accessible from the premises to be
produced in a form in which it can be taken away and in
which it is legible (whether or not with the use of a
computer).

(3) Where the items seized by a police officer under
section 70 of the Criminal Procedure Code include
computers, disks or other computer equipment, the
magistrate before whom those items are brought in
accordance with section 72 of the Criminal Procedure
Code may, on the application of the person to whom those
items belong or from under whose control they were taken,
and subject to subsection (4), make an order —

(a) permitting a police officer to make copies of
such programs or data held in the computer,
disks or other equipment as may be required for
the investigation or prosecution of the offence;

(b) requiring copies of those copies to be given to
any person charged in relation to the offence
(“the accused person”); and

(c) requiring the items to be returned within a
period of seventy-two hours,

and when seizing any such items the police officer shall
inform the person to whom those items belong or from
under whose control they are taken of his right to make an
application under this subsection.

(4) Subsection (3) (b) shall not apply —

Saving for
investigations.

Police powers.

Ch. 91.

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(a) in relation to copies of any items returned to the
accused person; or

(b) where the court is satisfied that —
(i) the provision of copies would substantially

prejudice the investigation or prosecution;
or

(ii) owing to the confidential nature of the
information obtained from the computers,
disks or other equipment, the harm which
may be caused to the business or other
interests of the applicant or any third party
by giving copies of that information to the
accused person outweighs any prejudice
which may be caused by not so doing.

(5) Any copies made pursuant to subsection (2) or
(3) shall, for the purposes of admissibility in any
proceedings, be treated as if they were themselves the
items seized.

16. (1) A police officer or a person authorised in
writing by the Commissioner of Police, pursuant to a
warrant under section 70 of the Criminal Procedure Code,
shall —

(a) be entitled at any time to —
(i) have access to and inspect and check the

operation of any computer to which this
section applies;

(ii) use or cause to be used any such computer
to search any data contained in or
available to such computer; or

(iii) have access to any information, code or
technology which has the capability of
retransforming or unscrambling encrypted
data contained or available to such
computer into readable and
comprehensible format or text for the
purpose of investigating any offence under
this Act or any other offence which has
been disclosed in the course of the lawful
exercise of the powers under this section;

(b) be entitled to require —
(i) the person by whom or on whose behalf,

the police officer or investigation officer
has reasonable cause to suspect, any

Power of police
officer to access
computer and
data.

Ch. 91.

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computer to which this section applies is
or has been used; or

(ii) any person having charge of, or otherwise
concerned with the operation of, such
computer, to provide him with such
reasonable technical and other assistance
as he may require for the purposes of
paragraph (a); or

(c) be entitled to require any person in possession of
decryption information to grant him access to
such decryption information necessary to
decrypt data required for the purpose of
investigating any such offence.

(2) This section shall apply to a computer which a
police officer or a person authorised in writing by the
Commissioner of Police has reasonable cause to suspect is
or has been in use in connection with any offence under
this Act or any other offence which has been disclosed in
the course of the lawful exercise of the powers under this
section.

(3) The powers referred to in paragraphs (a) (ii) and
(iii) and (c) of subsection (1) shall not be exercised except
with the consent of the Attorney-General.

(4) Any person who obstructs the lawful exercise of
the powers under subsection (1) (a) or who fails to comply
with a request under subsection (1) (b) or (c) shall be guilty
of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to
a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to
both such fine and imprisonment.

(5) For the purposes of this section —
“decryption information” means information or

technology that enables a person to readily
retransform or unscramble encrypted data from
its unreadable and incomprehensible format to
its plain text version;

“encrypted data” means data which has been
transformed or scrambled from its plain text
version to an unreadable or incomprehensible
format, regardless of the technique utilised for
such transformation or scrambling and
irrespective of the medium in which such data

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occurs or can be found for the purposes of
protecting the content of such data;

“plain text version” means original data before it has
been transformed or scrambled to an unreadable
or incomprehensible format.

17. (1) Where a person is convicted of an offence
under this Act, or any related inchoate offence, and the
court is satisfied that any property which was in his
possession or under his control at the time he was
apprehended for the offence or when a summons in respect
of it was issued —

(a) has been used for the purpose of committing, or
facilitating the commission of, the offence in
question or any other such offence; or

(b) was intended by him to be used for that purpose,
the court may order that property to be forfeited to the
Crown, and may do so whether or not it deals with the
offender in respect of the offence in any other way.

(2) In considering whether to make an order in
respect of any property the court shall have regard —

(a) to the value of the property; and
(b) to the likely financial and other effects on the

offender of the making of the order (taken
together with any other order the court
contemplates making).




Forfeiture.