East African countries are seeking funds for the construction of a cyber and forensic intelligence centre aimed at combating the rising challenge of countering cross-border cyber-crimes, seen as a threat to peace and stability in the region, said Tumwebaze Frank Uganda's minister of ICT and National guidance in an interview with SCMagazineUK.com.
The establishment of the centre is primarily intended to assist law-enforcement agencies in combating Information Communication Technology (ICT)-related crimes in the region, he said.
“Regional ministries are committed to providing the oversight and ensure that there is more resilience regarding cyber-security,” said Frank.
According to Rwanda's inspector general of police, Emmanuel Gasana, the East African region is experiencing an increase in online criminal activities which include financial fraud, drug and human trafficking and terrorism which requires an immediate intervention.
“We need to promote and strengthen cooperation and innovation in order to contain all forms of cyber-crimes in the region,” he said.
The East Africa Governments have already established a cyber-security management task force chaired by Kenya which deals with cyber-security at legal, policy and regulatory level and plans to establish a body assigned to monitor and report cyber-crimes across the borders, Gasana added.
Recently the regional police chiefs resolved to establish unified, standard operating procedures as well as laws and regulations on cyber-crime which include a computer misuse act, lawful interception, electronic signature and anti-money laundering.
The Cyber Intelligence Centre will contain a range of technologies to provide relevant information and intelligence needed to help regional police collaborate in efforts to detect cyber-threats in government departments and cases reported by the private sector, Gasana stated.
The facility will also be responsible for monitoring and tracking cyber-criminals in the region, according to Gasana.
Mukasa Mbidde a member of the East African community assembly, adds that East Africa is lagging behind in strengthening cyber-security and fighting cyber-crime thus cyber-criminals have recognised this vulnerability and are targeting the region.
“We are planning to enact comprehensive and harmonised cyber-crime laws for the region before the end of this year,” said Mbidde.
The East African assembly is also drafting a policy that will enhance coordination of regional positions in international ICT forums and adopt laws on cyber security and personal data protection Mbidde explained.
The East African Community consists of five countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.