By Billy Rwothungeyo
A regional planning meeting of stakeholders in the East African Community (EAC) to chart a way forward in the fight against cybercrime is underway at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala.
Hodar Addou, the acting UN resident coordinator in Uganda drew the attention of the participants to the threat posed to vulnerable groups like children and women as internet connectivity improves in the region.
“ICTs will only become more widely embedded in the lives of the children in the region, whether through use of computers in schools, in the home or through personal devices. While the internet can enrich the lives of children in many ways, including as a vehicle for education and civic engagement, it can assist perpetrators of child abuse to make contact with children either to obtain or create abusive materials or to arrange real world meetings,” she said.
Addou added: “Children may also be bullied, threatened or blackmailed in online environments, or exposed to age inappropriate material.”
She also weighed in on the insecurities faced by women online.
“Similarly, while women benefit from using new digital and internet technologies for business, self-expression, and networking, cyber victimisation remains an underexplored barrier to their participation,” she said.
“Numerous studies have shown that women often outnumber men in surveys on cyber victimisation and that cybercrime perpetrators are overwhelmingly male.”
John Nasasira, the ICT minister, who opened the meeting, reiterated Uganda’s commitment to fighting cybercrimes.
The aim of this meeting is to develop initiatives that will be used effectively across the East African Community and further build the countries’ capacity to prevent and combat cybercrime and thereby strengthen the ICT legal and regulatory environment through the exchange of knowledge and expertise
The two day meeting, organised by the National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI) will end on Wednesday May 28.
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