Fri | Jul 30, 2021

FSC wants Cybercrimes Act to flag computer-related fraud, forgery

Published:Friday | June 18, 2021 | 1:03 AM
The FSC also wants other pieces of legislation that may be affected by cybercrimes to be referenced in the act
The FSC also wants other pieces of legislation that may be affected by cybercrimes to be referenced in the act

A key financial regulatory body in Jamaica is recommending that lawmakers expand offences under the Cybercrimes Act to tackle computer-related fraud and forgery.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) wants Section 8 of the act that deals with computer-related fraud or forgery to be widened to include sending, receiving, or sharing data obtained from a computer or other electronic device unlawfully with the intent to cause harm, damage or loss to the aggrieved party or to gain an advantage.

Executive director of the FSC, Everton McFarlane, made recommendations to amend the law during Wednesday’s virtual meeting of a joint select committee reviewing the Cybercrimes Act.

“Essentially, the expansion we are suggesting in this way would allow for the offence to better contemplate certain financial crimes and money-laundering crimes which do not only include unlawfully obtaining data, but also sharing that data or information to other parties with a nefarious intent or an intent to unlawfully deprive or gain from another,” McFarlane said.

He is also suggesting an amendment to Section 3 of the parent law to state that a person who knowingly obtains or causes to be obtained for himself or another person any unauthorised access to any program or data held in a computer commits an offence.

McFarlane reasoned that a person who intends to obtain unauthorised access might use an intermediary through coercion, persuasion or deception, to execute the act on his behalf as he tries to mask his identity.

The FSC also wants other pieces of legislation that may be affected by cybercrimes to be referenced in the act given that a range of criminal activities now take place virtually. Giving an example, McFarlane said that money laundering might include the transfer of funds from criminal activity using online banking.

The FSC boss also recommended that the legislation or regulations should contain a provision that would help to verify the identity of an email sender given the prevalence of email spoofing which involves a person forging the email address of another.

Another issue raised by the FSC for consideration is that the law does not address the extradition of Jamaicans in a case where law-enforcement authorities overseas trace illegal cyber activities to nationals.

editorial@gleanerjm.com