Background
to the Study

Over
the last few years, cyber security has gone from a concern that loomed large in
the future for East Africa to an issue of pressing importance. As cyber
criminals
continue to develop and advance their techniques, they are also shifting their
targets focusing
less on theft of financial information and more on business espionage and
accessing government information (Herhalt, 2011). Thus, Nations around the world are
very concerned about cybercrime, a concern shared by many international
organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union and the Council
of Europe. What makes cyber-crime more serious is that unlike traditional
crime, cybercrime is global crime. Computer-related crimes are committed across
cyber space and do not stop at the conventional state-borders. They can be
perpetrated from anywhere and against any computer user in the world. (Bernner,
Marc, Goodman, & Susan, 2012)

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With increasing damage and expansion of cybercrime in
the world, governments have been
fighting it through different mechanisms. Some countries tried to fight
cybercrime through the
adaption of legislations while others organize ad hock or permanent task forces
to reduce threats posed by it. The international community has also been deeply
concerned with cybercrime. For example, the 2010 UN General Assembly resolution
on cyber security, addresses cybercrime as one major challenge to the
development of Information Communication Technology.

The ever growing awareness of the need to address
cybersecurity threats in Africa, however, has also reproduced old clichés about
gaps between the continent and more advanced areas of the globe. The few
reports available on cyber security in Africa have been characterized by alarmist
tones, asking, for example, whether Africa has become “a new safe harbor for
cybercriminals” (Kharouni L. , 2013). They have, however, offered very thin
empirical evidence that Africa is any more dangerous than other continents and,
in many cases, have been sponsored by cyber security firms with vested
interests (Jackson 2015).

The 21st century has seen African continent,
the once considered the most backward, scale greater heights and lead
innovation from the front. Mobile phone banking innovations have facilitated
greater ?ows of currency and increased chances for skimming these transactions
(Harris, Goodman and Traynor 2013; Herbling 2014). Remittance-based economies
have presented opportunities for cyber-attacks on the banking institutions that
facilitate these transfers (Mukinda 2014; Quarshie 2012). Terrorist threats, in
particular from the Islamist group al-Shabaab, have stressed the need to respond
to militants employing digital media to further their cause (Kagwanja and
Karanja 2014), but also to re?ect on the possibility that the increasing
securitization of domestic and international politics may require costly trade-offs
with individual and collective freedoms, and offer excessive powers to
executive bodies in the absence of adequate checks and balances (Makulilo,
2012).

Cybercriminals have long considered Africa as opportune
to commit their criminal acts.
Statistics from various sources indicate that Africa is very prone to
cyber-related threats due
to the high number of domains coupled with very weak network and information
security. For example, according to the Norton Cyber-Crime Report, every
second, 18 adults are victims of cybercrime, resulting in more than 1.5 million
victims globally per day. In addition, South Africa (80 per cent) has the third
highest number of cybercrime victims in the world, after Russia (92 percent)
and China (84 percent). The Symantec report10 further reveals that in 2012, the
number of targeted cyberattacks in Africa increased by 42 per cent. Thirty one
percent of these attacks, categorized as cyberespionage, have hit both large
and small businesses. Individual consumers have also become vulnerable to
viruses and other forms of cyber threats. In Africa, Nigeria is the largest target
and source of malicious Internet activities, the consequences of which are
unfortunately spilling into the other regions of the continent.  Similarly, The East African Community which
is a regional community consisting of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and
Burundi tried to incorporate cyber legislations to reduce threats posed by
cyber criminals in the community’s effort for ICT Development. (Patrick &
Maureen, 2013).
In Kenya – one of Africa’s largest economies and East Africa’s tech superpower­-it
is estimated that cybercrimes cost the country more than 2 billion Kenyan
shillings (US$22.56 million) in 2013 (Otieno, 2014).

Statement of the Research Problem

Cyber-crime like other forms of crime is multi-faceted
and an ever changing problem. In the 21st century, where there is
advancement in technology, criminals are no more confined to their own
countries but have crossed boundaries without fear. Offenders are not likely to
be recognized physically by security authorities or even their victims because
of the advancement in using the internet in communication. Criminals operate
from country to country, taking advantage of the weaknesses of investigative
tools of cybercrime in most countries. They hack the systems of businesses,
individuals and governments making cybercrime transnational, which knows no
boundaries.

For
both developed and developing countries, the far-reaching implications of
globalization have been
witnessed in the area of security, where the widespread nature of cybercrime
threatens to undermine
the security profile of states and their interaction with each other. Cyber
activities such
as hacking, cyber pornography, fraud and many others have increased in
sophistication due to
advancement in technology. States are cautious when conducting businesses
through the internet
due to the infiltration of networks by cyber criminals. This research explores
the various dimensions
of cybercrime and the need of combating the menace in the wake of advancement
in technology.

Even though cybercrime is a hot national agenda for
most African countries, and the threats
posed have been grave consequence to the emerging ICT infrastructures, little
has been done on the issue. To the best of my Knowledge, the entire literatures
about the issues are neither
complete nor tried to provide comprehensive picture. Thus, this study is
intended to fill
such knowledge gaps by providing theoretical understandings about the concept
of cybercrime
and there of tried to analyse efforts made in international and regional level to
alleviate the
problem. The paper is organized in to four major parts. The first part deals
with the general and theoretical understandings about cybercrime. The second
part investigates the global concern of cybercrime. The third part deals with
efforts done by East African Community to reduce cybercrime and its threats to
the community’s effort in developing ICT infrastructure and the final one
provides concluding remarks.

Research Questions

In this regard, the key research questions the
study seeks to answer are:

·        
What laws, policies and practices have been
employed so far, by stakeholders to combat this menace?

·        
What is the level of cooperation among East
African states against the background that international cooperation is
critical to ameliorating cybercrime?

·        
And what are the gains so far derived from
such form(s) of cooperation if any?

·        
What support can be rendered to strengthen the
position of stakeholders in the fight against cybercrime in East Africa?     

Literature Review

Cybercrime is a high-tech crime which is committed in a cyber
space in a globally
interconnected network of digital
information and communication infrastructures. It includes the internet, telecommunications, computer systems and information
resident there in (Melzer, 2011). Cybercrime is a complex and advanced
crime ranging from hacking of information to cyber terrorism. It becomes more
complex when it reaches at the level of cyber terrorism which is the
convergence of the virtual world of cyberspace and the intimidation techniques
of terrorism (Veerasamy, 2010). It is the
premeditated, politically motivated attack against information, computer
systems and data which results in violence against non-combatant targets by subnational groups and clandestine agents.

United Nations Office off drugs and crime’s research report in
2013 also identified three basic
categories of cybercrime. The first
category is the acts against the confidentiality, integrity and
availability of computer data or
systems which include illegal access to a computer system;
interception of computer data;
interference with a computer system, possession of computer
misuse tools and Breach of data
protection measures. The second category is Computer?related
acts for personal gain which may
include Computer?related fraud, identity offences, trademark
offences, sending of Spam, acts
causing personal harm and Computer?related solicitation. The final category is Computer content?related acts that include,
Computer?related acts
involving hate speech; Computer?related production,
distribution of child pornography and
Computer related acts in support of
terrorism.

According to George Curtis, cybercrime laws in recent times have
experienced difficulty in
keeping pace with advances in
technology. He explains that this often affect any attempts to
resolve issues relating to cybercrime.
As a result, law enforcement agencies often attempt to
solve issues relating to cybercrime by
drawing some analogy to traditional crime. Curtis
mentions that prior to 1984, crimes
involving computers were prosecuted in federal courts under existing
provision of the Federal Criminal Code dealing with other crimes, typically
wired fraud. He further states that the first Federal Statute specifically
addressing computer crime was the Counterfeit Access and Computer Fraud Act of
1984 (Izuzl, 2010). Particularly Africa becomes a new cybercrime harbor. This is due
to according to trend micro incorporated (2012) research, expansion of fast
Internet access, the expanding internet user base, and the lack of cybercrime laws in many African countries are the
main reasons.

Africa, as a continent, is vulnerable to a range of online
criminal activities, including financial fraud, drugs and human trafficking and terrorism. For example, a survey
published by “BuddeComm” an independent research and
Consultancy Company, in 2011, found that banks in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia alone had lost 245 million US dollar
with cyber fraud which is quite a lot of money for countries without highly
developed banking systems (Martin, 2012). It became evident that cybercrime is
expanded in Africa due to lack of cybercrime laws in most African countries.
Until the end of 2012 only five out of the 57 countries that make up Africa have
cybercrime laws in place1. These are Cameroon, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa
and Zambia. These countries’ cybercrime laws May, however, be outdated or do
not apply to the current threats that abound in the security landscape (Kharouni, 2013).

Having the damaging effect of cybercrime in mind, governments and
international organizations have been thinking how to
curb it. Many countries highlighted that an expedited mechanism for international
cooperation procedures in criminal matters involving cybercrime should be developed.
Some countries proposed that this could be through the strengthening of
existing informal police-to-police
networks. Other countries proposed that this could be achieved by further
development of existing formal international cooperation channels, including
bilateral and multilateral agreements. Some countries emphasized that all
options should be implemented in line with international human rights
standards, including rights to freedom of expression and to privacy (United Nations Offices of Drugs and crime, 2013).

In line with this, governments and international organizations established
their own international law as well as a taskforces. For example, UN
established United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and
the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) and The International Association of
Cybercrime Prevention (AILCC). The AU also adopted Draft Convention on Cyber
security and e-transactions. However, the draft AU Convention has been highly
criticised by advocates and champions of cyber security. For instance, the
critics point out that the proposal too much power to the government, particularly in accessing
private information. Processing of personal data and sensitive data without
consent of
the owner for the purpose of state security and public interest could be
misused.  

 There are also efforts to
draft International cyber law to govern attacks by cyber criminals at the
international level. In lieu with the aim to catalyse efforts towards fighting
cybercrime, the SADC adopted the model law in on cybercrime. The SADC Model Law
capitalizes on E-Transactions and E-commerce. The law also contain statute on
data protection act. The taskforce team commenced with a regional and
international assessment. Technical Assistance was offered by ITU for the drafting
of the Model Laws and in-country transpositions (AfriSIG,
2014).

 

Significance of the Study

The study gives readers an understanding of what cybercrime is and
how its emergence has the
ability to disrupt security setups,
economies, societies, market values of organizations and inter
relations among states.

This study
is significant to the EAC Secretariat, The government of EAC member countries, Cyber
Security agencies and the general academia.

EAC
Secretariat

 The study would provide knowledge on the
relationship between EAC integration and Cyber Security in East Africa.

The
governments 

This would
be useful to the EAC member countries governments of the countries to apply the
right and effective measures for combating cybercrime. It help individual
governments asses their efforts in fighting cybercrime, analyze the current and
expected trends in cyber security in incorporating appropriate measures, and
facilitate in attaining a balance between the need for regional peace and
prosperity resulting from proper regional international relations with sound
management of cybercrimes.

Cyber
Security Agencies and
Advocates

The Cyber
security agencies and advocates would be in a better position to assess the
contributions made by various governments towards safeguarding the regional
cyber space.

General
Academia

The findings of this study will add
to the body of knowledge and form part of future learning materials. Future
researchers with interests in Cyber Security will find the findings useful
since it will recommend further areas of study to enhance more knowledge in Cyber
management.

Scope of the Study

The study mainly focuses on the implications of cyber security in
East Africa region. Since the study advocates for a partnership form of redress
to the menace of cybercrime, examining the implications of international
relations could be of no exemption. Furthermore, countries such as Rwanda,
Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan will form the basis of our
reference hence the respective legislative provisions shall be discussed.

Hypothesis

The region of East Africa has witnessed tremendous growth in the
internet use through globalization and as a result, cybercrime has also become
part and parcel of the products of the skyrocketing internet use. To this
effect, cybersecurity continues to threaten individuals, national and global
security, thus international relations.

Research Methods

This paper employs the secondary research technique of
data collection and analysis. This will involve the collection and review of
relevant documentation on the perpetration of cybercrime in East Africa. Data
to be exploited includes; published reports; conference abstracts; newspaper
articles and other media coverage; information accessed through the internet;
official records from government and quasi-governmental institutions involved
in the fight against cybercrime; information from international organizations
like the International Police(INTERPOL), and the United Nations. In this
article, after a review of the recent literature on the efforts directed
towards the fight against cybercrime in East Africa, we will proceed to present
our findings, impediments, and discuss the measures that can be employed by
stakeholders to combat cybercrime in East Africa, by using the integrated
approach. With this approach, we will begin by stating each finding, examine
the impediments that limit its ability to stage a successful fight against
cybercrime and then propose recommendations that can be employed to better
fight cybercrime in East Africa.

Rationale of the Study

It is aimed that this research raises awareness about the various
trends of cybercrimes and its
alarming rate of increase. It further
looks at the implications for international relations and seeks to provide
valuable information for policymakers, civil society groups and the media on
the need to regulate and implement extensive policies to help combat the menace
through global cooperation.

Organization of Chapters

This study is categorised into five main chapters. The first
chapter constitutes the background to the study, it states the problem
statement, research design and the methodology and also rationalizes the study.
The second chapter provides a deep insight by examining the policies and
measures which have been taken by the stakeholders in addressing the issue of
cyber security. Subsequently, examines the existing cooperation between East
African member states in addressing cyber security issue and its implication on
international relations. The fourth chapter provides the gains achieved so far
against cybercrimes threat. The last chapter is a summary of the findings, conclusions
and policy recommendations.