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French Version

Computer crimes get more attention in Jordan

With all the fuss in the international media about computer crime, our local authorities have been actively following up on developments, in spite of the few cases of such crimes recorded in Jordan.
A couple of years ago, the Public Security Directorate announced the establishment of a Computer Crime department specialized in the enforcement of intellectual property laws, on the one hand, and to investigate cases of computer-related fraud or theft.

So far, there have been very few complaints registered at the Computer Crime department, but the staff have been undergoing intensive training and have continuously kept abreast with the latest developments by attending regional and international conferences and events on computer crime and security.

Recently, and as part of the evolving role of this department, it released a report defining its role and explaining the crimes that could be expected in Jordan and means to tackle them. The department particularly focuses on software copyright infringement and computer-aided fraud. As for copyrights, the department has been quite active in the past few years closing down several pirated software shops and confiscating illegal software throughout the year.

In fact, it wasn’t until this department was established that proper enforcement of intellectual property rights in software started. Now, with that matter well on course, the department is focusing attention on computer fraud, citing only a couple of examples in Jordan both being cases were accountants working for companies abused their software access rights to make modifications in the accounting software through which they personally collected sums of money illegally. The legal definition of computer-aided crime, as stated by the report, is “To engage in fraud, vandalism or blackmail utilizing computers by which data or documents are changed, modified, stolen or destroyed without legal rights to do so or for illegal purposes.”

The report discusses the different types of illegal access, and states that it is a felony to access computers to which a user has no rights and that such complaints are starting to be registered, and it is also a felony to infiltrate networks of private and public organizations which is also beginning to be reported in Jordan.

The report also discusses computer viruses and states that intentionally spreading them is an illegal act for which offenders will be pursued. The report also details every type of virus program (Trojan horse, worm, …. etc) and discusses the financial damages caused. One of the main issues the Computer Crime department needs to focus more on is generating awareness. That, in its own right, may be one of the best means to battle computer crime. Also, educating others involved in upholding laws, such as judges, should be a responsibility taken on by this department. Perhaps the publication of this report is a step in that direction, but more needs to be done in the form of a concentrated campaign.

After all, computer crimes may be taking place everyday. Without knowledge of their legal rights, victims may not file official complaints. Jordan is, already, an active information based society. With more awareness, and better communication with the public, the Computer Crime department will probably have its hand-full with cases and issues to tackle.

Amman,16December2002
Zeid Nasse
The Star


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