Cybercrime has been defined by DR.kakoza Anthony as the misuse of computers through the following ways; data interception, unauthorized access, network sabotage, data theft and data modification. It therefore results into crimes like cyber terrorism, hacking, sexual assault, Internet usage policy abuses, intellectual property infringement, impersonation, virus manufacturing, child pornography, illegal purchase of goods, industrial espionage.[1]  A few crimes have been reported here in Uganda and a few have been successfully prosecuted, with the latest being the 9 year jail sentence of Belgian nationals.

Vision 2040 stipulates that Ugandans must be very innovative in order to realize development, this cause is being stupide by cyber crime. The arts industry is an icon for innovativeness and creativity, it employs a huge section of the urban population ranging from artists, musicians, actors ,TV personalities and others. All these professionals solely relay on their concepts or compositions as intellectual property.  “The major problem affecting the music industry in Uganda today is piracy of music CDS, because I don’t have the manpower to move through all arcades checking for pirated CDS, all I do is to make a living from stage performances and advertisements”[2]. Several other artists in have reasoned that piracy promotes their music because it becomes very cheap and accessible to all, that is also a problem because the artists think the criminal gives back in the long run in form of attendance at concerts,though many like the Afrgo band detest the practice. Bulks of work by ugandan authors has been downloaded free from sites and published else where without authority,87 billion million US dollars is lost to illegal down loads in America only. All that cattails innovativeness which is a determinant in releasing our national vision.

cyber criminals have now switched to terrorism and attack on financial institutions,the 2012 police crime and traffic report asserted that they are now targeting mobile money and automatic teller machine fraud,the report added that 1.5 billion uganda shillings was lost to only those sects.  it is estimated by police that 18 billion is lost annually to cyber crime.England looses 87 billion pounds annually to cyber crime.Although the film industry suffers the same problem, it is united against the vice unlike its counterpart. Many TV and radio programs have been copied from one radio to another without authority, concept owners don’t report such cases nor do they demand for commissions from offender stations. Piracy as a form of cyber crime has greatly deterred the development of the Arts industry, Artists that would have got millions from sell of CDs loose it. This accounts to the existence of one hit wonder artists, decline in talent and low investment in the industry, in the long ran it discourages creativity and innovativeness among the population, because a Ugandan can never fully earn from his or her invention. The police, Uganda communications commission and the united nations have seen the establishment Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT),African Center for Cyber Law and Cyber crime Prevention all these organizations are charged with the duty of minimizing cyber crimes in the country. The Uganda police as of today has conducted workshops to train its staff in combating the vice. Despite all measures to put out the vice  it just seems to grow,its therefore prudent that the government focuses more on cooperation between the EAC as the peace and security protocol suggests and citizens should also join the fight because its them to loose.           

The government of Uganda aims at poverty reduction through agricultural commercialization[4]. In this computer era, commercialization comes with electronic money transfer and this gets us back to the cyber game. if cyber criminals are targeting banks and financial institutions, can we now say farmer’s money is safe. One of the problems affecting commercialized agriculture in Uganda is lack of access to financial institutions many of which are located in urban areas yet most of the farmers are in the rural communities. “The stark reality is that most people in the world still lack access to sustainable financial services, whether it is saving, credit, or insurance. The great challenge before us is to address the constraints that exclude people from full participation in the financial sector … together, we can and must build inclusive financial sectors that help people improve their lives”[5]. Financial inclusion is the best way of extending financial services to the poor people (professor Ddumba sentamu). By 2009 26 percent of the population had mobile phones[6], in the same year MTN had registered 1,000,000 subscribers to mobile money, transacted 590 billion shillings and set up 1500 agents’ country wide[7]. This clearly means that mobile money can ease financial transactions in the agriculture sector which will ultimately lead to commercialized agriculture.                                                                                                                                        Stubborn cyber attackers are also eying this opportunity since most farmers don’t know the tactics used by these groups. Vising has been widely used, this is a form of cyber electronic crime where the victim is persuaded to unveil important financial information or personal information to the attacker.[8] The attacker sends a message similar to that of the mobile money company, then he calls the individual and pretends he has by mistake sent money on his or her line, then asks for your pin cord to with draw the money and send you a size-able amount, once that is done all the information of your mobile money account is got and the attacker can withdrew your money at any time.

Since most agricultural SACCOS use mobile money, vishing could have a negative impact on agricultural commercialization and farmer’s involvement in the financial sector.  There are various measures by the ministry of agriculture to create a farmer’s data base where credit facilities can be accessed easily, all these measures can be down poured by cybercrime.  Therefore banks should do due diligence in combating the vice, which will encourage farmers to get involved in the financial sector hence encouraging national policy. It is now common law that banks are responsible for cyber-attack liability and not customers.       “The Defendant cannot escape its liability merely because the state of the art at the time Would not easily expose the forgery on the cheque. Such a defence is untenable in this Computer age of e-commerce and cyber-crime. There must be assurance to customers That their money is safe in the Bank. If the handwriting expert could so easily detect the Problem on the cheque, there is no reason why the Bank cannot employ people of the same Specialized skill to detect electronically scanned and transferred signatures on to the bills Of exchange.” [9]

Cybercrime can affect every sector that uses computers.

The writer is a Mariana fellow.

[1] Dr .kakoza Anthony. Cybercrime: legal perspectives in addressing social-economic development in Uganda. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1715637.

[2] Bebe cool.

[4] National agricultural policy 2010.plan for the modernization of agriculture plan 2002.

[5] former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan observed on December 29, 2003

[6] Wilson SSONKO.THE ROLE OF MOBILE MONEY SERVICES IN ENHANCING FINANCIAL INCLUSION IN UGANDA.

[7] Ali NDIWALANA Olga MORAWCZYNSKI2, Mobile Money Use in Uganda: A Preliminary Study. Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall, Sweden,Applab, Grameen Foundation, Kampala, Uganda, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

[8] Ibid

[9] Justice yorokam Bawine. Busongora Development Association Limited vs Centenary Rural

Development Bank Ltd.

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