The African Forum on Cybercrime – Uganda shares key learnings

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

It is a known fact that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has immensely transformed how we interact, work, offer services and do business. This transformation has and continues to break the traditional barriers of time and distance. Unfortunately, whereas this trend has enhanced our way of life, there are now increasingly criminal activities that largely mirror traditional crimes in the digital world. This includes attacks on ICT systems that power IT enabled services or leverage the same systems to commit cyber related crimes such as electronic fraud, identify theft and harassment among other crimes. The effects of such crimes can impact an internet user in a country different from where the criminal is based due to the borderless nature of the internet.

In line with the above, the African Union Commission (AUC) states that evidence in relation to cyber related crimes may take the form of electronic evidence, which is volatile, often intangible and sometimes located in foreign jurisdictions. Based on this, presence of knowledge is essential for legally compliant processes for the identification, collection, handling and preservation of electronic evidence.

It’s upon this basis that the AUC, Council of Europe (CoE) and its partners joined forces and organized the first African Forum on Cybercrime. The Forum held at the AUC Headquarters in Ethiopia (16 – 18 October 2018) was designed on the three major themes below:

  • Cybercrime policies and national legislations, with respect to regional and international standards and relevant implementation practices;
  • International cooperation to fight against cybercrime and proper handling cross-border of electronic evidence; and
  • Strengthening criminal justice authorities through adequate plans of capacity building and synergies with related programmes implemented in Africa.

As part of the participation, Uganda had a well-balanced representation at this Forum led by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance including the Judiciary, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Uganda Police Force, Civil Society and National Information Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U).

At the Forum, NITA-U was able to share experiences in building capacity of Uganda Police Cyber Crime Unit in areas concerning legally acceptable practices for the investigation of cyber related cases and handling of digital evidence. In addition, this included sharing lessons learnt by the Uganda National Computer Emergency Response Team and Coordination Center in incident response and malware clean-up for the Ugandan IP space.

The knowledge obtained from this forum shall contribute to the enhancement of the support provided to the Justice Law and Order Sector in the investigation and prosecution of cyber related crimes. This shall further include establishing the appropriate international collaborations for cross border investigations.