Mr Russell Tyner of the European Council on Tuesday urged member states of the Economic Community of West African States to harmonize their laws on cybercrimes to cater for extra territorial offences.
He said cybercrime covered internet frauds, child pornography, internet hacking and breaking into people’s computers, adding that such crimes did not know boundaries and it was only when effective legislation was in place in the sub-region that perpetrators could be made to face justice.
Mr Tyner made the remark in an exclusive interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of the ongoing four-day conference on harnessing cyber legislation in the West African sub-region in Accra.
He said the internet was increasingly becoming a tool for everyday activities such as electronic banking, e-commerce, online communication; but criminals were now exploiting it to the detriment of the public.
He said when such cybercrimes were allowed to continue, it would erode the public confidence in online commercial activities such as trading, e-banking and e-commerce, which would have serious consequences on the economies of many countries.
Mr Tyner said countries in the sub-region needed to put in place measures to detect cybercrimes and also to train their law enforcement officers on how to identify cybercrimes and how to gather its evidence and properly present them to court for adjudication.
He said the law enforcement officers must also be trained on how to gather data from communications service providers such as the mobile companies, google search, yahoo and hotmail within the shortest possible time before such information were lost from their system.
He urged Civil Aviation Authorities in the sub-region to guard against cybercrimes as the activities of such criminals could have very serious repercussions on the aviation industry.
Mr Tyner, who is also the United Kingdom Crown Prosecutor, Organised Crime Division, said the impact of cybercrime globally was running into several billions of dollars annually.
He cautioned the youth against putting certain vital information about themselves such as videos and photographs on the internet, since once placed on the internet such information could not easily be retrieved or withdrawn. GNA