Opening Speech Attorney General Guus Schram L.L.M On the occasion of the Caribbean Cybercrime Conference Aruba, November 16th, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

Many of you, like me, are generally not very worried about the increasing role of digital technology. On the contrary, it facilitates and accelerates everyday life.  Nowadays we can execute money transfers and even turn on the coffee maker in the morning with one simple swipe on a telephone screen.

However, the digitization of everyday life also has its disadvantages.  We are barely able to keep up with the developments in the field of technology, let alone fathom all the possible consequences and risks. The indispensable role of ‘technology’ in everyday life has caused us to feel lost without a smartphone. Chances are that, in the event of  a robbery, you would rather part with your wallet than with your phone with which access can be gained to your bank details and your personal life. Nowadays, it is also unthinkable for companies to run any kind of operation without the use of some form of modern technology.

It is precisely this dependency that poses a security risk and creates (economic) opportunities for the criminal.  Everyone, all businesses can become a victim of some form of cybercrime of which the motive often is financial gain. It is precisely this complex underlying issue that  makes this form of crime difficult to detect. The data is volatile, clues disappear quickly and the source is often anonymous. Furthermore cybercrime, which is not limited to borders and time, can cause great damage and many victims in a small timeframe. It is a pre-eminent form of transnational crime.

Little is known about the nature and the extent of cybercrime in the Caribbean. Although there isn’t data available on which we can base the assumption that cybercrime occurs to a larger or lesser extent in the countries, this can surely not be ruled out in these modern times. It would be naïve to think that normal crime hasn’t evolved from the

classic fleeing crook to the crook who now employs technological means to execute his crimes.

Because the judicial organizations in the countries, currently,  only dispose of  limited forensic digital expertise, we could be at risk of lagging behind. Therefore it isn’t strange that there haven’t been any criminal investigations in relation to this issue. However, this doesn’t mean  that cyber-crime  doesn’t occur in the countries. Although it isn’t widely spread in the Caribbean as of yet, we must not become easy targets. Catching up appears to be the appropriate course of action. That’s why it is my great pleasure to see you all together at this conference.

Especially now that Europe and America are focusing their attention on the fight against cybercrime, it is particularly possible that a shift will occur in which the cybercriminal will seek out the Caribbean to strike. We’ve already experienced cyberattacks.  The rumors and media reports about new attacks are ever increasing; Take as an example one about an attack on the tax office in one of the countries. Banks are also faced with such attacks in which messages are sent on behalf of the CEO to steer clients into performing transactions.

Cybercrime really is closer than we think. A successful approach in fighting cybercrime begins with the increase of knowledge and expertise concerning this issue. Furthermore it requires an innovative, intense and integral collaboration between the public and private sectors. By involving and employing a wide array of alternative partners in the fight against cybercrime, not only do we join forces but we also pursue an effect-oriented approach.

An assigned public prosecutor within the Public Prosecution Service, who will be trained in more detail concerning this issue, will serve as a specialist.  To that end, we will expressly reach out to specialists of the Dutch National Prosecution Service, but we will also participate in international conferences concerning this matter.

A conference such as this one doesn’t only serve to exchange knowledge and expertise about the latest developments in the area of cybercrime.  What is more important is that the countries and the governments acquaint themselves with the phenomena  and the dangers it brings

when the necessary measures aren’t taken. The protection of our vital yet vulnerable structures is indeed the responsibility of us all

Thank you.