Good day Colleagues,

1.    Have you, members of your family or friends ever been a victim of any of the above cybercrimes? If yes what actions were taken to restore your rights and to bring offenders to   justice?
2.    Have you unknowingly committed a cyber crime?
3.    What do you think the education sector should do to help mitigate the spread and impact of cybercrimes on Jamaica and Jamaicans? 

The liberalization of telecommunications in Jamaica has had both positive and negative effects.  Jamaicans today enjoy the convenience of online banking; they are able to communicate with people from around the world that they perhaps will never be able to meet in person.   Ordinary Jamaicans are able to shop in different countries and to access varying goods online.  Jamaica is not only recipients of national and international news, but they are active participants that can contribute content.  These are a few of the positives of the liberalization process, but amidst them are some negatives. “Surging demand for resources and equally rapid shifts in the pattern of environmental impacts, and fundamental changes in the nature of risk, political and economic influence, competition and conflict, and the geopolitical balance of power”  (Clayton, 2012, p.5), continue to impact Jamaica in negative ways.  

The bottom line is that liberalization of the telecommunications sector and ensuing rapid implementation of changes in the way we do business, have left us open to the ills of cyber criminals, who bring with them new threats to financial stability, peace and safety. According to Clayton (2012), “the rise in cyber-crime [and] the compromising of government programs by organized crime” (p. 5) have left Jamaicans contending with many new challenges, while seeking to combat older threats. He explains further that we are grappling these threats on a daily basis and brought into notice the fact that we continue to rank highly among countries with the highest rates in homicide and violent crimes, trafficking in guns, ammunition and drugs, scarcity of natural resources, such as water, natural minerals and energy, climate change and the degradation of the environment (Clayton, 2012), and I must add trafficking in people, unintentional exposure to sexually explicit content, the attacks of cyber predators on vulnerable and defenseless citizens, i.e. children and the disabled as and the mentally challenged.  Before I provide formal definitions for the term cybercrime, let me explain that most crimes such as fraud, offences against  the people, stalking, sexual  harassment, etc. that are committed in society in real time, can also be committed online.  The absence of physical contact does not change the fact that those behaviours can violate the laws of a country and the rights of people. According to an ITU (2012) report,

The term “cybercrime” is narrower than computer-related crimes as it has to involve a computer network. Computer-related crimes cover even those offences that bear no relation to a network, but only affect stand-alone computer systems…Cybercrime in a narrow sense (computer crime) covers any illegal behaviour directed by means of electronic operations that target the security of computer systems and the data processed by them. Cybercrime in a broader sense (computer-related crimes) covers any illegal behaviour committed by means of, or in relation to, a computer system or network, including such crimes as illegal possession and offering or distributing information by means of a computer system or network… One common definition describes cybercrime as any activity in which computers or networks are a tool, a target or a place of criminal activity.  There are several difficulties with this broad definition. It would, for example, cover traditional crimes such as murder, if perchance the offender used a keyboard to hit and kill the victim… Some definitions try to take objectives or intentions into account and define cybercrime more precisely, such as “computer-mediated activities which are either illegal or considered illicit by certain parties and which can be conducted through global electronic networks”. These more refined descriptions exclude cases where physical hardware is used to commit regular crimes, but they risk excluding crimes that are considered as cybercrime in international agreements such as the Commonwealth Model Law on Computer and Computer-related Crime or the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. For example, a person who produces USB devices containing malicious software that destroys data on computers when the device is connected commits a crime as defined by Article 4 of the Convention on Cybercrime.

There are several cases of these levels and types of crime being committed in Jamaica as the liberalization process has served to improve the technological sophistication to levels that facilities these crimes.   It is safe to say that cybercrimes have spiraled out of control in Jamaica and law enforcers are running their best race against this beast and are not even achieving a close second as is evidenced by the news links below:

Cybercrimes in the news

Click on the titles to read the full story
a.    Cases of Hacking
1.    A 30 year old man hacks Digicel’s network

2.    Computer hacker breaks into DPP’s files

3.    There are 25 types of cybercrimes that have not been properly addressed in the act

4.    Heartbleed bug: the hacking tool of choice

b.    Cases of Cross border phone Fraud (Scamming)
1.    Jamaica fraudsters targets US consumers

2.    Jamaica lottery scam spreads…

3.    36,000 cases of Jamaican lottery scamming unearth  in six months

c.    Sexting, Texting and Textopornographie
1.    Cases of sexting and texting among Jamaican youths

2.    Male teacher suspended for alleged sexting

3.    Textopornographie

d.    Banking Fraud
1. Debit Card cloning in Jamaica

2. Credit-card alarm - Lead Stories - Jamaica Gleaner

3. Scotia loses $150 million in card scams ...

No one in Jamaica is safe! We are all merely sitting ducks it is only a matter of time before we fall victims of a cybercrime or we knowingly or unknowingly will commit one.