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Opposition accused of cyber crime

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Legislation to deal with cyber crime is coming, says Minister of Science and Technology Rupert Griffith.

He disclosed this in his contribution yesterday to the Opposition’s motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister and Government at the Parliament sitting at Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain.

Griffith said his ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Security, was looking at legislation for this country and he regretted that it was not here sooner as the issue of the e-mails raised by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley would have ended up before the courts.

Griffith commended the Prime Minister for forwarding the matter to the acting Commissioner of Police, but advised that it also be referred to a cyber specialist.

“I believe that the Opposition of Trinidad and Tobago committed a cyber crime perpetrated on this Parliament,” said Griffith.

A cyber specialist, he said, would be able to trace the source of an e-mail to determine whether it was properly constructed.

Griffith added that, given the “incompetence” of the e-mails, “it has to be a very young unintelligent person that put that debacle as I call it together and forward (it) to the leader of the Opposition”.

He said further that ICT ministers and legal advisers were collaborating to establish legislation to address cross-border cyber crimes.

“When that is done, it does not matter where the crime originates, you would be able to prosecute the person who does the crime,” he said.

Griffith said the laws currently used in India were being examined.

He noted in that country there were presently 141 million Internet users, 941 million mobile phone users and a tele density of 68 per cent.

This country, he said, has a mobile density of 138 per cent—the number one in the world as most people here have two cellphones.

Griffith said some of the cyber crimes that carry jail terms in India are cyber crime stalking, hacking, identity theft, computer espionage, intellectual property crimes, infringement of privacy, piracy, pornography or obscenity, denial of service, computer literate forgery, virus or malicious code, harassment via e-mails, defamation and e-mail spoofing.

Cyber crimes, he said, carry serious charges.

Flooding an e-mail inbox with innumerable e-mails, stealing data, sending viruses and sabotaging computers were among some he listed that carry three-year jail sentences.

In dismissing Rowley’s motion, Griffith said that taxpayers’ money was wasted when one looks at the cost for Parliament staff, price for food and utilities.
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