• September 24th, 2018
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Namibia a safe haven for cybercriminals

Front Page News
Front Page News

Lahja Nashuuta Windhoek-As the world marked International Safer Internet Day yesterday, Namibian children’s rights advocates are urging the government to accelerate the ratification of cyber security laws in order to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. For the past year Namibia has noted a rise in cyber-criminal acts with revenge pornography taking its toll on society and leaving families broken with emotionally frustrated victims. The latest incident was a sex tape purportedly showing a married woman engaging in a sex act with her secret lover. The video that went viral on social media resulted in the married woman, whose embarrassing sex act was posted online, being humiliated with insults on social platforms, reducing her to an emotional wreck. An exploratory research study on knowledge, attitudes and practices of ICT use and online protection risks by adolescents in Namibia, conducted in 2016 by the University of Science and Technology, showed that 68 percent of children reported having seen sexual content they did not wish to see, while 31 percent had been sent sexually explicit images of people they didn’t know, and 29 percent had seen child sexual abuse material online. The study revealed that up to 80 percent of all cybercrimes go unreported due to the lack of awareness about cybercrimes. While these findings reveal that violence and exploitation of children in Namibia frequently have an online component and contribute to creating an unsafe environment for children, only a very minimum number of cases have been successfully prosecuted as no legislation is in place that comprehensively criminalises child pornography and other cybercrimes. The only legislation directly addressing child pornography is the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA). However, some child rights activists are of the opinion that even though the Act criminalises child pornography, the provision is not sufficient and not consistent with international law as it does not define the term “child pornography’’. Child rights activists quoted in the study further stress that the provision itself is too narrow as it only criminalises the creation of child pornography and various support actions to the creation of child pornography, but fails to criminalise distributing, disseminating, importing, exporting, offering, selling and possessing child pornography, according to the activists. In an interview with New Era, Steven Haragei, programme manager for counselling at LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia, singled out the absence of cyber security laws, lack of digital literacy and awareness as some of the contributing factors to cyber bullying. “The absence of cyber security laws is key to why the country has turned into a safe haven for cybercriminals. It is hard to regulate child online sexual abuse and grooming without an act in place. Of course, there have been cases of cyber bullying that involve children and women but the only help organisations such as LifeLine/ChildLine can offer is counselling and sociological support,” he said Haragei, although commending the government for providing training to law enforcement agencies on cybercrime investigation, suggested that more still needed to be done in term of creating awareness to ensure citizens are fully aware of cybercrimes and how to respond to such crimes. Parliament is busy with drafting the electronic transactions and cybercrime bill, however, according to Haragei, such bill, once it becomes law, might not fully address cybercrime as it focuses more on promoting e-governance services and electronic commerce and communications and does not say much about cyberspace security. This year Safer Internet Day was held under the theme “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you.”
2018-02-07 09:05:20 7 months ago
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