Computer Misuse

Link to law: http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/Laws2/Alphabetical_List/lawspdfs/11.17.pdf

Computer Misuse
L.R.O.

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 1

COMPUTER MISUSE ACT

CHAPTER 11:17

Act
86 of 2000

Current Authorised Pages
Pages Authorised

(inclusive) by L.R.O.
1–16 ..

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


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Note on Subsidiary Legislation

This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 3

CHAPTER 11:17

COMPUTER MISUSE ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

PRELIMINARY
SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.

PART II

OFFENCES
3. Unauthorised access to computer program or data.
4. Access with intent to commit or facilitate commission of offence.
5. Unauthorised modification of computer program or data.
6. Unauthorised use or interception of computer service.
7. Unauthorised obstruction of use or use of computer.
8. Unauthorised disclosure of access code.
9. Enhanced punishment for offences involving protected computers.

10. Unauthorised receiving or giving access to computer program or data.
11. Causing a computer to cease to function.

PART III

GENERAL PROVISIONS
12. Territorial scope of offences under this Act.
13. Jurisdiction of Court.
14. Order for payment of compensation.
15. Saving for investigations by police officer.
16. Power of police officer to access computer program or data.
17. Limitation period.

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CHAPTER 11:17

COMPUTER MISUSE ACT

An Act to prohibit any unauthorised access, use or interference
with a computer and for other related matters.

[2ND NOVEMBER 2000]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

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

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

magnetic, 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
inter-connected 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 prescribe
by Order;

“computer output” or “output” means a statement or
representation, whether in written, printed, pictorial,
graphical or any 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;
“computer service” includes computer time, computer output, data

processing and the storage or retrieval of a program or data;

86 of 2000.

Commencement.

Short title.

Interpretation.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 5

“damage” includes, except for the purpose of section 13, any
impairment to a computer or the integrity or availability of
any program or data held in a computer that—

(a) causes loss aggregating at least ten thousand
dollars in value, or such other larger amount as
the Minister may prescribe by Order, except that
any loss incurred or accrued more than one year
after the date of the loss shall not be taken into
account;

(b) modifies or impairs, or potentially modifies or
impairs, the medical examination, diagnosis,
treatment or care of a person;

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

(d) threatens the public interest;
“data” means representations of information or of concepts that

are being prepared or have been prepared in a form suitable
for use in a computer;

“electronic, acoustic, mechanical or other device” means any
device or apparatus that is used or 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” includes, in relation to a function of a computer,
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.

(2) For the purpose of this Act, access of any kind by any
person to any program or data held in a computer is unauthorised
or done without authority 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 access the kind of
program or data in question from the person who
is entitled to control access.

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6 Chap. 11:17 Computer Misuse

(3) A reference in this Act to a program or data held in a
computer includes a reference to any 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.

(4) A reference in this Act to a program includes a
reference to part of a program.

(5) For the purpose of this Act—
(a) a program or data held in a computer or in any

storage medium capable of being accessed and
printed into readable form through a computer is
a document; and

(b) it is immaterial that access to a program or data
held in a computer is achieved through the use of
that or any other computer or by any other means.

PART II

OFFENCES

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person who knowingly
and without authority causes a computer to perform any function
for the purpose of securing access to any program or data held in
that computer or in any other computer commits an offence and is
liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars
and to imprisonment for two years and, in the case of a second or
subsequent conviction, to a fine of thirty thousand dollars and to
imprisonment for four years.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
committed under subsection (1), the person convicted of the offence
shall be liable to an additional fine of twenty thousand dollars and
to imprisonment for three years.

(3) For the purpose of this section, it is not material 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
program or data.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 7

(4) For the purpose of this section, a person secures or
gains access to any program or data held in a computer if by causing
the computer to perform any function he—

(a) alters or erases the program or data;
(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 to access to a program or data and to an intent to
secure such access shall be read accordingly.

(5) For the purpose of subsection (4)(c), a person uses a
program if the function he causes the computer to perform—

(a) causes the program to be executed; or
(b) is itself a function of the program.

(6) For the purpose of subsection (4)(d), the form in which
any program or data is output, and 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, is immaterial.

4. (1) A person who knowingly causes a computer to
perform any function for the purpose of securing access to any
program or data held in that computer or in any other computer
with intent to commit an offence—

(a) involving property, fraud, dishonesty or which
causes bodily harm; and

(b) which is punishable on conviction by
imprisonment for more than one year,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine
of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.

(2) For the purpose of this section, it is immaterial
whether—

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

Access with
intent to commit
or facilitate
commission of
offence.

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(b) the offence to which this section applies is—
(i) committed at the same time when the

access is secured or at any other time; and
(ii) punishable summarily or indictably.

5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person who does a direct
or an indirect act without authority which he knows will cause an
unauthorised modification of any program or data held in any
computer commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction
to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two
years and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a
fine of thirty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four years.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
committed under subsection (1), the person convicted of the offence
shall be liable to an additional fine of twenty thousand dollars and
to imprisonment for three years.

(3) For the purpose of this section—
(a) it is immaterial that the act in question is not

directed at—
(i) any particular program or data;

(ii) a program or data of any kind; or
(iii) a program or data held in any particular

computer;
(b) it is immaterial whether an unauthorised

modification is, or is intended to be, permanent
or merely temporary;

(c) a modification of any program or data held in any
computer takes place if, by the operation of any
function of the computer concerned or any other
computer—

(i) any program or data held in any computer
is altered or erased;

(ii) any program or data is added to or removed
from any program or data held in any
computer; or

(iii) 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.

Unauthorised
modification of
computer
program or data.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 9

(4) Any modification referred to in this section 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
the person who is so entitled.

6. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a person who knowingly
and without authority—

(a) secures access to a computer for the purpose of
obtaining, directly or indirectly, any computer
service;

(b) intercepts or causes to be intercepted, directly or
indirectly, any function of any computer by means
of an electromagnetic, acoustic, mechanical or
other device; or

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

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine
of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years and,
in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine of thirty
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four years.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence under
subsection (1), the person convicted of the offence shall be liable
to an additional fine of twenty thousand dollars and to
imprisonment for three years.

(3) For the purpose 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) Subject to subsection (2), a person who knowingly
and without authority—

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

Unauthorised
use or
interception of
computer
service.

Unauthorised
obstruction of
use or use of
computer.

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10 Chap. 11:17 Computer Misuse

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

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine
of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years and,
in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine of thirty
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four years.

(2) If any damage is caused as a result of an offence
committed under subsection (1), the person convicted of the offence
shall be liable to an additional fine of twenty thousand dollars and
to imprisonment for three years.

8. (1) A 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 a computer commits an
offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years and, in the
case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine of thirty
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four years.

(2) A 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 a computer commits an
offence if he did so—

(a) for any unlawful gain, whether to himself or to
another person;

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

damage,
is liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars
and to imprisonment for four years and, in the case of a second or
subsequent conviction, to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to
imprisonment for five years.

9. (1) Where access to any protected computers is obtained
in the course of the commission of an offence under section 3, 5,
6 or 7, the person convicted of such an offence shall, in lieu of

Unauthorised
disclosure of
access code.

Enhanced
punishment for
offences
involving
protected
computers.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 11

the penalty prescribed in those sections, be liable on conviction
on indictment to a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars
and to imprisonment for ten years.

(2) For the purpose 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, program or data is used directly in connection with or
necessary for—

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

(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 and public health,
including systems related to essential
emergency services such as police, civil defence
and medical services.

(3) For the purpose 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 or program or data, an electronic or
other warning exhibited to the accused stating that unauthorised
access to that computer or program or data attracts an enhanced
penalty under this section.

10. (1) A person who receives or is given access to any
program or data held in a computer and who is not authorised to
receive or have access to that program or data from another person,
whether or not he knows that that person has obtained that program
or data through authorised or unauthorised means, commits an
offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.

Unauthorised
receiving or
giving access to
computer
program or data.

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(2) A person who is authorised to receive or have access
to any program or data held in a computer and who receives that
program or data from another person knowing that that person has
obtained that program or data through unauthorised means commits
an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.

(3) A person who has obtained any program or data held
in a computer through authorised means and gives that program or
data to another person who he knows is not authorised to receive
or have access to that program or data commits an offence and is
liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars
and to imprisonment for two years.

(4) A person who has obtained any program or data held
in a computer through unauthorised means and gives that program
or data to another person whether or not he knows that that other
person is authorised to receive or have access to that program or
data commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a
fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for two years.

11. (1) A person who engages in conduct which causes a
computer to cease to function permanently or temporarily and at
the time he engages in that conduct he has—

(a) knowledge that the conduct is unauthorised;
(b) the requisite knowledge; and
(c) the requisite intent,

commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine
of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten years.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1)—
(a) “requisite knowledge” means knowledge that the

conduct would or would be likely to cause a
computer to cease to function permanently or
temporarily; and

(b) “requisite intent” means intent to cause a
computer to cease to function and by so doing—

(i) prevents or hinders access to the
computer; or

(ii) impair the operation of the computer,
but the intent need not be directed at a particular
computer.

Causing a
computer to
cease to
function.

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Computer Misuse Chap. 11:17 13

PART III

GENERAL PROVISIONS

12. (1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act shall have effect in
relation to any person, whatever his nationality or citizenship,
outside as well as within the State, and where an offence under
this Act is committed by a person in any place outside of the State,
he may be dealt with as if the offence had been committed within
the State.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), this Act shall apply
if, for the offence in question—

(a) the accused was in the State at the material time;
(b) the computer, program or data was in the State at

the material time; or
(c) the damage occurred within the State, whether or

not paragraph (a) or (b) applies.

13. (1) A Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine
all offences committed under this Act.

(2) A summary Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and
determine any offence, except an offence under section 9, if—

(a) the accused was within the magisterial district at
the time when he committed the offence;

(b) any computer containing any program or data
which the accused used was within the
magisterial district at the time when he
committed the offence; or

(c) the damage occurred within the magisterial
district, whether or not paragraph (a) or (b)
applies.

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

Territorial scope
of offences
under this Act.

Jurisdiction of
Court.

Order for
payment of
compensation.

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(2) A claim by a person for damages sustained by reason
of the offence is 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 for compensation under this section is
recoverable as a civil debt.

(4) For the purpose of this section, a program or data
held in a computer is deemed to be the property of the owner
of the computer.

15. Nothing in this Act prohibits a police officer or a person
authorised in writing by the Commissioner of Police (“authorised
person”) from lawfully conducting investigations pursuant to any
powers conferred under any written law.

16. (1) This section applies to a computer which a police
officer or an authorised person 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.

(2) Where a Magistrate is satisfied by information on oath
given by a police officer that there are reasonable grounds for
believing that an offence under this Act has been or is about to be
committed in any place and that evidence that such an offence has
been or is about to be committed is in that place, he may issue a
warrant authorising any police officer to enter and search that place,
including any computer, using such reasonable force as is necessary.

(3) A warrant issued under this section may also direct
an authorised person to accompany any police officer executing
the warrant and remains in force for twenty-eight days from the
date of its issue.

(4) In executing a warrant under this section, a police
officer may seize any computer, data, program, information,
document or thing if he reasonably believes that it is evidence that
an offence under this Act has been or is about to be committed.

Saving for
investigations
by police
officer.

Power of police
officer to access
computer
program and
data.

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(5) A police officer executing a warrant may be
accompanied by an authorised person and is—

(a) entitled, with the assistance of that person, 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 program or data held in or
available to such computer;

(iii) have access to any information, code or
technology which has the capability of
retransforming or unscrambling encrypted
program or data held in 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;

(iv) to make and take away a copy of any
program or data held in the computer as
specified in the search warrant and any
other program or data held in that or any
other computer which he has reasonable
grounds to believe is evidence of the
commission of any other offence;

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

the police officer has reasonable cause to
suspect, any 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 or any authorised
person with such reasonable technical and
other assistance as he may require for the
purposes of paragraph (a); and

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


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

(6) A person who obstructs a police officer in the
execution of his duty under this section or who fails to comply
with a request under this section commits an offence and is liable
on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to
imprisonment for two years.

(7) For the purposes of this section—
“decryption information” means information or technology that

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

“encrypted program or data” means a program or 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 program or data
occur or can be found for the purpose of protecting the
content of such program or data;

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

17. Notwithstanding any other written law, a person who
commits an offence under this Act, except an offence under
section 9, may be prosecuted at any time within twelve months
after the commission of the offence.

Limitation
period.

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