The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr. Aminu Maida highlighted the principal roles of Information and Communication Technology in curbing financial crimes in the Nigeria.
The NCC EVC represented at an event by NCC Director of Public Affairs Dr Reuben Muoka, gave the insights in his presentation at the 11th Anniversary Lecture Series of RealNews Magazine in Lagos.
Dr. Aminu Maida highlighted significance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the fight against financial crimes.
He said financial crimes encompassed a range of illicit activities, including money laundering, terrorism financing, embezzlement, and fraud, with far-reaching economic and societal consequences.these crimes he said not only jeopardized the stability and security of entities but can also be linked to violent offenses resulting in loss of lives.
Here is the presentation in full;
I am delighted to be in your midst today, and most especially, to discuss this topic which has become very important in our ecosystem: The Use of ICT in Curbing Financial Crimes.
Financial crimes refer to criminal activities that involve transactions, abuse, misuse, deception, or manipulation of financial systems for personal gain. They include a wide range of offenses such as Insider abuse, Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, Proliferation Financing, embezzlement, Fraud (E-fraud, Banking, securities, corporate, Intellectual Property) etc. These crimes do not only have a huge economic and social impact but can also be linked to violent crimes that lead to loss of lives. These crimes threaten the integrity, trustworthiness, stability, security, safety, and future of an entity (Country, enterprise, individual).
With the increasing adoption of digital technologies, the emergence of new technologies, and the often-transnational nature of these crimes, the scope of financial crimes has broadened and created further concerns.
The Role of ICT in Curbing Financial Crimes
Robust information and communication technology (ICT) systems are critical for preventing/investigating financial crimes or mitigating the risks associated with virtual assets in financial markets. These systems facilitate compliance with established standards or regulations, they also provide a platform that allows the monitoring, tracing, and analyzing of digital transactions in real-time. ICT systems support secure data storage and encryption technologies, which are critical for safeguarding sensitive financial data.
Technological advancements have significantly aided crime prevention and law enforcement agency performance. Large datasets have been analyzed using advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning algorithms to look for trends that indicate criminal activity. Based on historical data and real-time intelligence, predictive police programs have arisen to foresee and prevent crimes. Digital forensics techniques have also proven useful in criminal investigations.
Historically, a variety of legacy technologies have been used to combat crime; however, in more recent times, novel computer softwares and hardwares are being utilized to monitor individual transactions and communications for suspicious activity. For instance, anti-money laundering (AML) software uses algorithms to detect anomalous patterns in financial transactions that could suggest money laundering or other illegal activity. Law enforcement agencies are increasingly employing communication monitoring softwares to follow and analyze digital communications, such as emails, social media interactions, and instant messaging, in order to discover potential threats or illegal behaviour. These technologies improve the ability to detect and prevent illegal digital activity.
Nigeria’s telecoms sector has grown significantly, resulting in massive amounts of data being generated on a daily basis. The advent of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) provides a gateway to identify suspicious digital patterns indicative of crime. Through partnerships with financial institutions data can be filtered to identify these suspicious patterns and nip them in the bud. These technologies provide real-time transaction monitoring, allowing for a proactive approach to crime prevention.
Specific Applications of ICT in Curbing Financial Crimes
To combat financial crimes, innovative solutions such as blockchain, instant payments, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, regulatory technology solutions, and automated procedures are being deployed. The use of technological tools has made it significantly easier to deal with financial crime while building a long term strategy for combating it.
Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT): is a group of experts, (of which the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is part of) that handles security incidents that can affect the operations of organisations.
Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that focuses on identifying, acquiring, processing, analysing, and reporting on data stored electronically. Electronic evidence is related to criminal activities and can be admitted in the process of prosecuting offenders in law courts.
Verification of Biometrics: The incorporation of biometric authentication into financial transactions represents a big step forward in fraud prevention. The NCC makes certain that telecom carriers follow strict biometric registration rules, which improves the accuracy and security of customer data and in turn financial transactions.
Palantir Technologies Solution: Law enforcement agencies and financial institutions have used Palantir’s data analytics platform to examine massive volumes of data for patterns indicative of financial crimes. It permits the integration of many data sources, allowing for more thorough investigations.
Chainalysis Solution Case Study: Chainalysis specializes in blockchain analysis and provides tools for tracking cryptocurrency transactions. This platform supports law enforcement in tracing illicit blockchain activity such as money laundering, ransomware payments, and illegal transactions.
avenues for illegal conduct emerges. Cybercrime, deepfakes, and the exploitation of IoT devices all represent substantial concerns. It is critical to strike a balance between using ICT to prevent crime and protecting data privacy. Collaboration and international cooperation are required to effectively tackle financial crime. Financial crimes frequently cross borders, necessitating a collaborative effort by States to track down and capture culprits. Conferences/lectures such as the Realnews Magazines Lecture Series allow worldwide stakeholders to share knowledge and best practices.
Continued investment in ICT solutions, as well as a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder strategy, combining technology specialists, legal professionals, and legislators, are critical in keeping up with emerging criminal methods. Public education and understanding of internet safety are also important in limiting the risks linked with the spread of criminality via technology.