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I like the part about dumping old computers in Africa. I have plenty in my closet I could send them.
Nii Narku Quaynor in December became the first African winner of the prestigious 2007 Postel Prize from the Internet Society, the international body that regulates the technical standards of the internet.
On December 22, Quaynor, a professor at Cape-Coast University in Ghana, participated in the weekly pan-African Skypecast press conference hosted by the World Federation of Science Journalists.
A deep-voiced computer-science university professor from Accra, Ghana, Quaynor is known as "the father of African internet". Listen in to the man who says critics would change their mind if they had to do without internet ...
Odeh: And what do you think of the growing use of internet to defraud people, the 419 scams that we call 'yahoo yahoo' in Nigeria?
Quaynor: Computer fraud is no more than traditional fraud. The police must be educated and, more importantly, the consumer must be careful. Fraud such as identity theft often involves the consumer, so awareness is key.
Odeh: Seems like science is almost helpless on this internet fraud.
Quaynor: Actually science is not helpless with fraud. The techniques to prevent fraud online are scientific. The methods to detect intrusion are scientific.
Quaynor: I have a credit-card solution in which the card holder's picture is presented to the merchant when the card is used. This kind of e-commerce solution is deeply rooted in computer science. 419 -- advanced fraud -- is only solvable if the greedy do not fall for the trap. However, science and technology can reduce this illegal email spam
Quaynor: Mail servers should be configured so that only known subscribers may send email through it, blocking open relay. Spam filters reduce and contain spam. This is a huge area of study.
Opoku: What about the practice of dumping so-called used computers from abroad on most African countries? They are dotted all round but many of these computers don't last or are out of use.
Quaynor: Don't accept dumping of computers. You can't use them with new software and have headaches getting spares or skilled people to repair them. You deserve a new personal computer.
Scott: Are plans in place to prevent the dumping of out-of-date computers on people in Africa?
Quaynor: I have not seen any plans. It's part of our philosophy, I've shared it with operators in our community. Part of my efforts after winning this award is to sensitise policy makers towards the internet.
Faye: But computers are not 100% safe, because of some materials [used in their construction]. What about recycling?
Quaynor: Africa needs to plan computer recycling for itself, with or without dumping. It's not only the computers which have some gold and other poisons. Every country needs a plan for this. I have plans to visit several African countries during the year to interact with internet society chapters and will keep you informed.
Faye: Hope the first one will be Senegal, you can't fail us.
Quaynor: In Senegal, I have close contact with Mouhamet Diop, Alex Coranthin and others. Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are part of the plan.
_________________ "I didn't know Oscar was a pimp!" Chibuike
"simple....go fuck a tree trunk" Phillip Johnson
Computer fraud is no more than traditional fraud. The police must be educated and, more importantly, the consumer must be careful. Fraud such as identity theft often involves the consumer, so awareness is key.
People forget that 419-type frauds have been around a long time. They're just more prevalent now as it cheaper and easier to type a few keys on a keyboard - than to write and post a letter.
I agree also about the solution to spam based on verification and "permission" message systems. For those interested, there is an email provider at http://www.bluebottle.com/ already heading in this direction.
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