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Death Penalty for Digital Crime in Nigeria, Life Sentence in UK

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Two security announcements went unnoticed this month, ones that have serious ramifications for anyone considering participating in, or linked to, life-threatening internet attacks.

According to FORBES, with little fanfare or fuss, on 3 May, life sentences for the most egregious digital crimes – ones that cause significant damage to people’s lives or national security – became a reality in the UK.

In the same week, Nigeria announced it had refreshed its cybercrime law, which is somewhat less vague in its wording: any attack on critical national infrastructure that causes a death will be punished by hanging (the secular form of capital punishment in the African nation).

Both point to a growing anxiety amongst policy makers about the threat posed by “cyberterrorists”, or whatever epithet mandarins wish to give them. And both have the potential for misapplication.

For Nigeria, the concern is obvious: given how hard it is to do accurate attribution for digital attacks, the death penalty might be considered too strong.

Life sentences for the most evil hackers were introduced in the Queen’s Speech last year, but have only just been brought into law.

Announced last year during the Queen’s Speech, the update to the UK Computer Misuse Act via the Serious Crime Act 2015 has caused consternation for two reasons.

First, it’s terms are broad. For someone to have deserved a life in prison, they must have committed an “unauthorised act” and known that it was unauthorised, and will have either intended to have caused “serious damage” to “human welfare or to national security” or had been “reckless as to whether such harm was caused”.

As noted by Professor Peter Sommer, who holds posts at de Montfort and the Open Universities and has been expert witness in numerous computer crimes trials, this leaves much open to interpretation by British judges, some of whom may not have even moderate technical understanding of the issues, whilst juries could be convinced fallacious information was factual.

“The practical problem is that there are no definitions of  ‘serious damage’ or ‘national security’. So it will be up to a judge to try and guide the jury – who will presumably have already heard from some serious sounding bloke speaking from behind a curtain.”

Non-computer crime laws should also cover off any attacks that result in a catastrophe in the UK, as is the case in Nigeria. Is there really any need for additional laws to specify what tools were used to do the deed?

Top digital cop in the UK, head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, Jamie Saunders, told FORBES these additions are designed to plug potential gaps in legislation. Lawmakers don’t want there to be any ambiguity or loophole for a hacker responsible for the loss of life, or whatever it is the law deems serious enough.

Saunders admits that there is little evidence of any incoming real-world destructive cyber attack, however. “In terms of evidence of criminal group actors looking to do major destructive infrastructure attacks, we’re not really seeing that.

I’d be worried if we were to see that in this jurisdiction,” he told FORBES. But that’s not to say it would never happen. This month’s legislative update was in anticipation of such an event, even if one isn’t imminent.

It might be perspicacious to trust Saunders on emerging threats too. After all, not only was he formerly director of international cyber policy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and cyber policy lead in the British Embassy, Washington D.C., he started his career at GCHQ, the UK spy agency that is at the forefront of offensive digital tool development, also known as malware coding.

Meanwhile, in the US, the much-maligned Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) could, in theory, be used for handing out life sentences. As one section notes, if an offender “attempts to cause or knowingly or recklessly causes death” the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

“But that’s just a theoretical possibility.  It has never been charged, and I would guess it never will be,” added Orin Kerr, professor of law at the George Washington University Law School and noted computer crime expert.


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Mega Deals as Konga Freedom Sales Goes Live Today

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All is set for the 2020 edition of the Konga Freedom Sales, an annual promotion by the foremost composite e-Commerce giant targeted at celebrating Nigeria’s independence anniversary.

Specifically, the Konga Freedom Sales goes live on Monday, September 21, 2020 and will run until Friday, October 9, 2020 across Nigeria.

The promotion will see the first week from September 21 – 27 focus on giving Nigerians the best prices and unbeatable discounts unmatched anywhere else in the market, with customers also urged to check prices on Konga before making any purchases. In addition, Konga’s customers are in line to benefit from three flash sales during the week.

From September 28, the week which coincides with the memorable occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary, Konga will offer all classes of shoppers a unique opportunity to enjoy rock-bottom prices and mega deals on a wide variety of genuine products carefully selected by Konga to mark the auspicious celebration.Among these are 60 special products for each day of the promotion in line with the commemoration of Nigeria’s 60thindependence anniversary.

Also, the promotion will run across multiple channels including the Konga website, chain of retail stores located nationwide and via the Konga Bulk platform.

The eagerly anticipated Konga Freedom Sales will see the e-Commerce giant make available heavily discounted products of up to 50% off from multiple categories such as Computers & Accessories, Home & Kitchen, Electronics, quality Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Power Solutions, Phones & Tablets, Drinks & Groceries, among many others. Further raising the excitement for the Konga Freedom Sales is the fact that Konga has positioned the promotion as one with which to celebrate Nigerians as the country hits its Diamond Jubilee.

Consequently, the management of Konga has revealed its intention to make it a promotion to remember for every customer.

‘‘Nigeria will be marking its Diamond Jubilee on October 1st. It is a momentous anniversary as 60 years is not a mean feat,’’ disclosed Co-Chief Executive Officer, Konga Group, Nick Imudia.

‘‘In view of this, we have decided to make this year’s edition of the Konga Freedom Sales a special one to celebrate all Nigerians.

‘‘Therefore, we have carefully selected all the products that will go on sale from Monday.

“Our motivation is to make it a memorable occasion for all Nigerians by helping them save money on genuine products across our online platform and retail stores nationwide.

“We encourage everyone to go online at www.konga.com or visit the nearest Konga store or leverage Konga Bulk from Monday to partake in the celebration of Nigerians through the Konga Freedom Sales,’’ he urged.

Meanwhile, an array of world class brands has partnered with Konga for the promotion. These include the likes of HP, Samsung, Lenovo, PZ Cussons, Dell EMC, Infinix, iTEC, Zinox, Tecno, Unilever and many more.

The Konga Freedom Sales goes live nationwide from Monday, September 21 until Friday, October 9, 2020.


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ICANN Launches Pandemic Internet Access Reimbursement Program Pilot

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The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced the Pandemic Internet Access Program Pilot for ICANN69, following the ICANN Board’s resolution in support of the pilot program.

To facilitate participation during the remote Public Meeting, the pilot program offers community members who have limited Internet capacity, financial assistance to increase their Internet bandwidth during ICANN69.

Reimbursement amounts of up to USD 60 will be provided to eligible applicants who purchase additional Internet bandwidth (capacity or data limits) for the duration of the month or billing cycle for October 2020.

The services must be rendered by a business entity or Internet service provider, specifically for Internet or cellular data service. The provider must also provide digital or paper documentation of the upgrade costs.

Interested community members must apply in advance of ICANN69 and those who meet the eligibility requirements will be selected to participate. The application deadline is Friday, 2 October 2020 at 23:59 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).


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FG Launches Central Database for Stolen Asset Tracing

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Federal government has launched a Central Database under the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations (ARTM), 2019 and the Central Criminal Justice Information System (CCJIS) under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017 – 2011 to assist in the fight against corruption.

FG Launches Central Database for Stolen Asset Tracing

Mr Abubakar Malami, AGF

Mr Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, at the launch in Abuja, said the database will ensure uniformity of process, access and information feeding to deepen transparency and accountability in the management of recovered assets.

To ensure compliance, he said his office is developing legislation for the full implementation and operation of the CCJIS.

“We will work together to establish and re-enact transparency and accountability in governance and management of our resources which we have committed to do by way of strengthening International Cooperation of our membership of Open Government Partnership,” he said.

In his speech, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by Mrs Ugonna Ozurigbo, chairman, House Committee on Justice, said the regulation on Asset Tracing, Recovery and proper management of proceeds of crime was signed on October 24, 2019, and took effect from November 1, 2019, replaced the proceeds of Crime Regulation of 2012.

The new regulation titled Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 empowers the AGF to take charge of the custody and management of all final forfeited assets, approval and appointment of asset managers and operating and maintaining a database for the records of all recovered assets within and outside Nigeria.

He said, the AGF’s office, under the new regulation, is also required to coordinate inter-agency investigations into recovery matters within and outside Nigeria from all law enforcement agencies whose law empowers them to undertake recoveries and maintaining a depository for all forfeiture orders issued by the Nigeria courts and courts outside Nigeria.

Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management, according to the Speaker, is a core value of good governance and its effective management will serve as a deterrent to would-be fraudulent minded individuals who may find themselves in public offices.

According to him, states resources must not be allowed to be stolen but if that happened by fraudulent individuals, efforts must be taken to trace the proceed, recover same and manage for the interest of the generality of the people.

“When the proceeds of crime are traced and recovered but again looted by government officials, I dare to say such act amounts to the crime of tertiary capacity and must be avoided.

“Assets not accounted for are assets lost; loss of assets undervalues the economic potential of a country and will negatively impact on the net worth of a country. Accordingly, Asset Tracing Recovery and Management is a panacea to rekindling of the value system of a nation,” the Speaker noted.

 


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