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Cyber crime law expected by January

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Cyber crime law expected by January on Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:28 am



Written by Jamaica-Gleaner.com

The seemingly free reign of lottery scammers could soon end as Government expects to pass, by next month, legislation aimed at crippling cyber crime activities that threaten to shut down the country's information communication technology (ICT) industry.

"We have before the Senate, which will be going this week, a bill that should go into law within a month, that will see penalties imposed on persons engaged in cyber crimes. The penalties will range from two to 10 years and fines of two to five million dollars for abuses to that sector," Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, disclosed at MegaMart's 10th anniversary ceremony in Montego Bay, St James on Saturday.

"Where persons engaged in honest employment are not satisfied to get a wage, they wish to defraud the system by taking crucial information and transmitting them to persons who defraud the public. I wish to make this message go forward today in Montego Bay, that this administration is not going to tolerate it."

Samuda said the move was critical to provide a trustworthy environment as the Government embarks on activities to attract foreign investment. The 'lotto scam', which has its genesis in Montego Bay, the hub for ICT businesses in Jamaica, is being blamed for the western city's frightening murder rate.

Loss of jobs

"I am mindful of the challenges that now confront the ICT sector, which operates here, where companies are challenged because there is an incident that challenges the very survival of that industry, where cyber crimes have risen to a level that at this time could see the loss of thousands of jobs unless we take decisive actions," he stated.

The scam, which has left several communities awash with cash and enmity, is carried out by 'diallers'. They use illicitly obtained personal information from the ICT sector, to con mainly American residents into sending them money on the pretext that they had won a lottery and needed to send them money to clear their winnings.

Cyber crime is defined as any criminal act that involves the use of computers and networks. It includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet, for example hate crimes, telemarketing and Internet fraud, identity theft, and credit card thefts.

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