Lack of witnesses, manpower hamper cybercrime probers
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Even in the presence of advanced technology to gather evidence of cybercrime, state investigators still find it hard to quickly resolve these cases.

Victims don’t file complaints, there are no witnesses and there are not enough investigators, according to an agent from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

To start with, he said getting victims and witnesses to cooperate is difficult – some of the victims refuse to file charges due to the hassles caused by the investigation process.

Investigating and filing charges against suspects usually take a minimum of three months, the agent said.

“For example, internet scammers would need physical contact with the victims so they can establish communication between each other,” he said. ??

?For him, it is important that the public understands laws against various types of cybercrime and that victims know they can run to the NBI.

“The challenge is that the public must be aware of existing laws that fight cybercrime, especially Republic Act 10175,” he added, referring to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. ??

The agent also cited the laws penalizing voyeurism and child pornography.

He said while the NBI continues to recruit cybercrime forensics experts and train investigators from the agency’s own academy, the NBI still does not have enough manpower and the investigators’ expertise in solving cybercrimes needs to be polished.

“We are looking for investigators who are passionate in information technology (IT),” he said.

Among the tasks an investigator handles include retrieving deleted data and authenticating photos or videos that will be used as evidence.

The agent said the NBI currently handles and solves about 150 various cases of fraud, pornography and identity theft, among others, in a month.

With only four forensic experts, he admitted they lack the manpower to solve cases fast. ??

However, he said the Department of Justice, which has supervision over the NBI, supports providing more manpower for the NBI’s cybercrime division.

As of August this year, the NBI cybercrime division has handled 958 cybercrime cases, with 841 considered “closed and terminated.”

Fraud or estafa, identity theft, hacking, Internet scams and cybersex make up the bulk of these cases.

ACIRC AS OF AUGUST CASES CYBERCRIME CYBERCRIME PREVENTION ACT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATORS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION NBI REPUBLIC ACT UML
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