The propagation of fake news on the Internet and its associated media has been signalled as a new form of cybercrime endangering democracy, free debate, social peace and national security in Cameroon. ANTIC's Director General, Dr. Ebot Ebot Enaw, drew public attention to the menacing phenomenon, 28 February 2018, in Ngaoundere while addressing participants at the opening ceremony of a three-day seminar to raise the awareness of the population of Adamawa Region on cyber security and cybercrime, organised by ANTIC.
The sharing of fake news - false information disseminated on the Internet mainly through the social media, has witnessed an upsurge in Cameroon, with the Internet awash with damaging untrue information against individuals, public authorities, industries, and government institutions.
This practice with its attendant consequences, "constitutes a criminal offence punishable by the 21 December 2010 Law on Cyber security and Cybercrime with sentences ranging from six months to two years imprisonment or fines ranging from five to ten million FCFA" Dr. Ebot Ebot Enaw underlined.
Given that the perpetrators of such crimes are largely ignorant of the legal implications of their actions, the seminar in Ngaoundere sought to raise the awareness of the local population on the dangers inherent in the abusive use of the Internet and encourage its safe use in a bid to ensure that the Internet effectively contributes to the growth and development of the Cameroon economy.
As data breaches, scamming, web defacement fake news dissemination and other cyber-enabled crimes are becoming increasingly rampant, the Ngaoundere seminar provided a unique platform to present measures taken by the government to address these threats and as such contribute to the security of the national cyberspace.
Given that the human factor is the weakest link in the cyber security chain, public awareness is undeniably the key way to bridging this security gap. It is in consonant with this premise that ANTIC is conducting nationwide public awareness seminars aimed at giving local communities the skills needed to effectively navigate through the challenges they encounter on the Internet, capture the opportunities the Internet offers and exploit these opportunities to foster development.
The seminar for the population of Adamawa Region is the ninth in a series that ANTIC has already undertaken with only the North West Region still pending to get the campaign hit a nation-wide coverage.
The campaign under the rallying banner -"Stop Cyber crime, together let's bar the way," was marked by the distribution of Internet Security Guides that target children and parents with an Information System Security Guide for the industry.
At the fringes of the seminar which had convened participants from all walks of life, was a caravan campaign in primary and secondary schools, that got children and youths - majority of ICT users in Cameroon, schooled on dangers of the social media and cyber security best practices.