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Brazil: New Law Amends Penal Code to Criminalize Electronic Offenses

(Dec. 11, 2012) On November 30, 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Roussef promulgated two new laws that amend the Penal Code and establish Internet and electronic crimes and their punishments. (Dilma Sanciona Lei Carolina Dieckman, Sobre Crime Virtual, O GLOBO (Dec. 3, 2012).)

The first law, dated November 30, 2012, determines that the organs of the judicial police must organize, according to regulation, new bodies and specialized teams to fight criminal activity involving computer networks, communications devices, and information systems. (Lei No. 12.735, de 30 de Novembro de 2012, PLANALTO.GOV.BR.)

A second law of the same date criminalizes the use of data that is obtained from debit and credit cards without authorization from the owner. Such a practice is considered forgery of a private document and is punishable upon conviction with one to five years in prison and a fine. The law also makes it a crime to invade electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, desktops, tablets, or ATM machines, to obtain or change data and gain unlawful benefits. This crime is punishable with three months to two years in prison and a fine. The law further defines as a crime the intentional interruption of services of Internet companies and punishes that activity upon conviction with one to three years in prison and a fine. (Lei No. 12.737, de 30 de Novembro de 2012, PLANALTO.GOV.BR.)