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Move to tackle cybercrimes - Hackers got Golding

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer

Prime Minister Bruce Golding. - File

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has good enough reasons to support the Cybercrimes Bill after a recent incident left him holding thousands of US dollars in credit-card debt.

Golding told fellow parliamentarians he had the shock of his life after his bank told him that thousands of US dollars in purchases were made on his Jamaican-issued credit-card account during a two-day spending spree.

Golding, who had not travelled outside Jamaica in months, said his bank advised him that the money was used to buy several plane tickets.

The incident, which occurred three months ago, was traced back to hackers thousands of kilometres away in the United Kingdom.

pm reimbursed

The prime minister, who was making a presentation on the new Cybercrimes Bill, recently returned by the Senate to the Lower House for amendments, said he was reimbursed, the account immediately closed, and a new credit card issued.

"We are particularly familiar with the lotto scam in Montego Bay. It is not just the crime and the fraud that is committed, it is the murder to which it gives rise," Golding stated.

The legislation imposes criminal sanctions on the misuse of computer systems or data. Offences covered include intentional unauthorised access to computer data; access to computer programmes or data with intent to commit any offence; intentional unauthorised modification of a computer programme or data; unauthorised interception of computer function or service; wilfull unauthorised obstruction of the operation of a computer or denial of access to a computer programme or data; and, unlawfully making available devices or data for the commission of any of the above offences.

e-commerce boom

The prime minister said that more consumers were carrying out business transactions via the Internet, and in the United States alone the value of e-commerce sales for 2009 was almost US$100 billion.

He said that tackling cybercrime is particularly complex because it allows for virtual anonymity. "It is what they call illusive scene of crime," he pointed out.

Some of the cybercrimes, he said, may not be "criminally intended but just plain mischief to spread a virus, to create excitement and panic, and to demonstrate that, as powerful as these systems are, somebody can compromise them".