Nigeria: Anti-spam Measures

Another interesting post that I flagged while on jury service was a seminar in Nigeria on economic crime under the auspices of that country's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It was brought to my attention by a newsletter from my broadband service provider Zen Internet for which many thanks.

Much of the focus of this seminar was on what the Nigerians call "419 fraud" after s.419 of their Penal Code. This is "advanced fee" fraud that has been going on to my knowledge a lot longer than the internet. I used to marvel that people posing as "Chief This" or "Dr That" in the "Ministry of Something or Other" in Lagos or somewhere kept much better tack of my changes of chambers address when I moved from Manchester to London and then back to Manchester again than my solicitors or even the Bar Council. The first time I got a fraudulent request to open a bank account, I called the police only to be told by the very bored detective that he could paper the whole of Scotland Yard with these epistles. There is a rather amusing story of the biter being bit on the BBC website from last year "Turning the tables on Nigeria's e-mail conmen".

There are some good presentations on the Commission's website. The slides of a paper by Suresh Ramasubramanian, Manager, Antispam Operations, Outblaze Limited, Hong Kong are particularly interesting. The slides can be downloaded from the download centre.

As a friend of West Africa (my wife is of Sierra Leonean origin as indeed is Lois), I sometimes worry about the negative and obvious deterrent to foreign investment of stories like this. I have to emphasize that there are a lot of positive things about Nigeria and its neighbours. The excellent online collection of statutes, law reports and other materials from Nigeria Law which I mentioned in this blog in Nigerian Copyright Law a few weeks ago is just one example in our area.


Anonymous said…
I'm surprised - but pleased - that an otherwise low profile conference seems to have got noticed enough to get it mentioned in ISP newsletters and blogged about. The EFCC people are quite sincere and committed - and facing lots of difficulties, like an antiquated legal system, and scammers who have enough money to hire large teams of high priced lawyers and barristers.

[idly searching for any mention of myself on blogs using the search engine, and happened on your blog]

Glad you liked my presentation on 419 spam - if you liked it, you'll probably like this one as well -


suresh ramasubramanian gpg # EDEDEFB9
manager, security & antispam operations, outblaze limited
John Lambert said…
Thanks for your comments, Suresh. I shall visit the link and try to review your other presentation as time allows.

We are all very supportive of West Africa at NIPC and are aware that many people there are doing a good job.

So, too, it would appear are you. Please keep in touch.


John Lambert
Anonymous said…
I'll try to - but I do email rather more than I do blogs .. you might want to subscribe to if you are interested in the WSIS, ICT issues, WTO etc - its quite useful

Please feel free to email me - my contact information is available on my website


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