U.S. Ambassador Thomas F. Daughton Remarks for the Opening of the Southern Africa Regional Cyber Investigations & Electronic Evidence Workshop

  • Advocate Martha Imalwa, Prosecutor General of Namibia
  • Lt Gen Sebastian Ndeitunga, Inspector General of the Namibian Police
  • Your Honors, members of the Namibian judiciary
  • Distinguished participants from Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia
  • Colleagues from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
  • Members of the media, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the Southern Africa Regional Cyber Investigations and Electronic Evidence Workshop.

It is no exaggeration to say that modern technology has completely changed the way we all communicate with each other.  The United States has been one of the world’s leaders in developing and harnessing that technology for communication.  In the U.S., we recognize and celebrate the power of the Internet to promote the free exchange of ideas, open debate, and commerce.  And the American people are proud of the role we have played in supporting and protecting the free flow of information.

I expect that everyone in this room has communicated over the Internet.  Some of us routinely do our banking and other business over the Internet.  Every day more people gain access to the rest of the world through the transmission of data.  In fact, in some parts of the world, data transmission is the only convenient way to communicate with the rest of the world.  Businesses around the globe use networks to transact business.  Companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter and many others have based their business models solely on electronic information exchange.  In short, the interconnectedness facilitated by new technology carries infinite promise.  But it also brings peril.

Last November, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked.  That aggressive act resulted in the public release of large amounts of confidential data belonging to Sony,

including personal information about Sony Picture employees and their families, emails between employees, information about salaries, and other sensitive information.

The danger of being hacked like Sony is not limited to large corporations.  Being interconnected with the rest of the world means being vulnerable.  No one is immune.  Criminal gangs and organizations search continually for more and more sophisticated ways to use technology – tools such as malware and botnets – to obtain and exploit information.  They do it because, in many instances, cybercrime pays.  But such cybercrimes do more than just pay:  they have the potential to threaten a nation’s security and financial health.

Happily, the same modern communication systems that criminals use to commit cybercrimes also leave perceptible “tracks” leading back to the criminals.  It is those unavoidable and unerasable tracks and traces that law enforcement around the world can use to catch and prosecute cybercriminals.

In the face of ever more sophisticated criminals, the fight against cybercrime requires coordinated effort among all stakeholders, including governments, educational institutions, business organizations, and law enforcement authorities.

In bringing together law enforcement experts from nine southern African countries for this workshop, we hope to help foster stronger law enforcement practices and to help you participants build stronger relations with your law enforcement colleagues from around the region.  Our goal is simple – to provide you some tools that you can use to build better, stronger, and more effective law enforcement in your countries and across southern Africa.

In this workshop, you will learn about techniques for using cyber tools and methods to investigate crime and to collect and analyze digital evidence associated with criminal networks.  In particular, you will be presented information on online investigations, forensic analysis, and methods for seizing and searching computers and cell phones involved in criminal activity.  Additionally, you will have an opportunity to explore legal and procedural issues related to using electronic evidence in criminal proceedings.

As police, prosecutors and jurists, you and your colleagues are the vanguard defending your citizens and economies from a growing international cybercrime threat.  Working together both makes our efforts easier and makes them more effective as we cooperate to safeguard data privacy and interdict those with criminal intent.

On behalf of the U.S. government, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Namibian government for making it possible for this workshop to take place here in Windhoek.  Let me express my thanks as well to all of you who have traveled to Namibia to participate in this workshop.

And now, I am particularly pleased to be able introduce someone who has been an important law enforcement partner of the United States for many years.  She has worked tirelessly with the U.S. Department of Justice and has been a strong advocate of increased training for security professionals.  It is my honor to present Advocate Martha Imalwa, Prosecutor General of Namibia.