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RSN EDITORIAL: Welcome To The Real World

Why Doesn’t The World Stop Organized Crime Online?

This is one of those “Be Careful What You Wish For Moments.” Or it could also be described as one of those Unforeseen Consequences!

Let’s start with how the real world is on the Internet.

Once upon a time the United States invented the Internet for itself. In fact, our founder was on the Internet (then called the APRAnet) in 1981.

AOL became the first major online service provider and by 1992 spanned North America and Europe. (We had a forum or chat group on AOL discussing scams in 1991.)

Then along came the Clinton’s, and they decided this was too great for the U.S. to keep for itself! That was a good thing, except they gave NO THOUGHT to what could happen!

Bill Clinton also signed into law something called the Communications Decency Act in 1996. This law gives a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” to website publishers and ISP (Internet Service Providers). Meaning that these companies are not responsible for what people did online (such as scammer reports or comments on this website). It was intended to promote free speech online, in comments, blogs, and more. Unfortunately, it is the main reason that Facebook & dating websites disregard fake profiles, since they have no established liability for them under the CDA (other countries also have equivalent laws as well).

Fast forward to 2004, Obama gets elected. Prior to that, we had a measure of control online and scammers were very limited. However, the took a complete “Hands Off” attitude towards Africa, and Western Africa in particular. Thus, for 8 years there was very little done about online crimes around the world, and specifically from Western Africa. (Remember that Obama’s father was from Kenya.)

Next, our story moves on the the former U.S.