Dana van der Merwe

Prof. Dana is a professor in the Department of Criminal and Procedural Law at the University of South Africa (Unisa). He teaches the Law of Evidence and is specifically interested in the legal position relating to electronic signatures.

Prof. Dana is the author of many articles on the interface between the law and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). He has published one of the first books in this area, namely Computers and the Law (1986) of which the second edition was published in the year 2000. He has also co-authored (the major part) and edited a completely new work, ICT Law. This was published late in 2008. He wrote the sections on legal informatics, telecommunications law, criminal law, cyber-security and law of evidence.

Prof. Dana wrote the sections on evidence and computer crime in the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act, 25 of 2002, which governs the legal aspects of electronic commerce in South Africa. This was probably the first piece of legislation on the African continent to outlaw hacking, the distribution of virus programmes, denial of service attacks and the like. The evidential section deals with the admissibility and evidential weight of data messages and the status of electronic signatures.

The “Landesbericht” on South Africa in the international series on Cyber-law published by ‘Kluwer Law’ also comes from his hand (2003). He was invited by Kluwer to update this for 2009 which he had just done – the work was published in Belgium in July 2009.

He has helped to write the ICT usage policies for Unisa which has given him valuable background for the topics to be covered at the present workshop.

Out of the study, Prof Dana has spoken at many conferences, conducted many workshops and has often appeared as an invited guest on radio and television programs. He is a member of the Computer Society of South Africa and the Law Teachers Association of South Africa and is also interested in using new technologies such as XML and XBRL to better structure knowledge, so as to make it more logical and easier to understand.