Cybercrime on Facebook in Mauritius

17 November 2015 by S. Moonesamy

Cybercrime in Mauritius

According an article published in L'Express on 13 November, the Cybercrime Unit has received 548 complaints related to social networks since 2009. In two cases the persons found guilty were fined, and in two other cases the persons were given a warning by the court. The police is still investigating 311 cases. The other 233 cases have either been dropped or have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Le Defimedia reported that 86 persons were arrested and released on bail.

Cybercrime on Facebook

In 2009, there was a case in which a secondary school student was sent indecent messages. Obscene photos were also posted to the Facebook page of the student. In July 2009, a suspect was arrested and released after three days. The suspect pleaded guilty in court.

In September 2012, it was reported that the Information and Communication Technologies Authority contacted the Cybercrime Unit and Facebook to obtain the IP address used to post indecent photos of young girls.

On 12 October, 2013, a suspect was arrested and provisionally charged with a "breach of the ICT Act". The suspect confessed that he used Facebook to blackmail a minor by threathening to post revealing photos of her.

In October 2013, a person filed a complaint with the Cybercrime Unit after he discovered a Facebook profile with his name and a naked photo. The Facebook profile was removed after it was reported as a fake profile by a colleague.

On 27 March, 2014, a person was arrested for using a fake Facebook profile to insult the Prime Minister. According to the news article, the person was tracked by the Cybercrime Unit through the IP address.

In June 2014, a fake Facebook profile of the Prime Minister was discovered by the IT Unit of the police during an "electronic patrol". According to the news article, Facebook was informed about the matter.

In June, a Private Parliamentary Secretary filed a complaint about insults which she received on Facebook.

In June, the Facebook profile of the President of the Republic was compromised. According to the news report, the President mentioned that she would file a complaint with the Cybercrime Unit on her return from the United States.

The cybercrime cases about social media generally reported in the press are about Facebook. Facebook-related offenses are usually treated as a breach of Section 46 of the Information and Communication Technologies Act 2001. At least 20 complaints about identity thief were filed during the first six months of 2015.

Government Requests to Facebook

Statistics about government requests to Facebook since 2013 are available. According to Facebook, government officials are required "to provide a detailed description of the legal and factual basis for their request, and [Facebook pushes] back when [it] finds legal deficiencies or overly broad or vague demands for information". There wasn't any government request from Mauritius.

There was a parliamentary question about measures for the timely identification of the owners of fake Facebook profiles. The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation replied that a committee has been set up within his Ministry with the assistance of the State Law Office for Mauritius "to seek Mutual Legal Assistance from the State of California, so that in cases where there are harmful and illegal contents on Facebook in Mauritius, not only those contents may be deleted, but the author of those contents will also be identified and evidence could also be gathered to prosecute the author, promptly". According to Facebook, a "Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty request or letter rogatory may be required to compel the disclosure of the contents of an account".


The IP address from which a message or photo is posted can only be obtained from Facebook. Although some of the news articles state that Facebook was contacted to obtain that information, it is unclear how that information was obtained as the Facebook statistics show that Facebook has not received any government request from Mauritius. There is a proposal to incorporate provisions on cybercrime in the Criminal Code. It is unlikely that the proposal, if it becomes law, will help to increase the conviction rate if the cases are not based on scientific evidence.

1., "Réseaux sociaux: 548 plaintes depuis 2009", 16 November 2015
2., "La page Facebook d’une mineure détournée : un graphiste jugé vendredi", 5 March 2012
3., "Photos indécentes de Mauriciennes sur Facebook: l’ICTA initie une enquête", 4 September 2012
3., "Chantage sur le Net : le suspect passe aux aveux", 13 October 2013 2012
4., " Délaissé par sa petite amie à cause d’une photo obscène sur Facebook", 29 October 2013
5., " Un internaute arrêté pour avoir insulté le Premier ministre sur Facebook ", 28 March 2014
6., " Facebook: le CCID enquête sur un faux profil du Premier ministre ", 17 June 2014
7., "INSULTES SUR FACEBOOK : La PPS Rubina Jadoo-Jaunbaccus consigne une déposition au CCID", 22 June 2015
8., "Profil Facebook piraté: Gurib-Fakim portera plainte à la Cybercrime Unit", 25 June 2015
9., "Facebook Government Requests Report", 16 November 2015
10., "Sixth National Assembly - Parliamentary Debates - First Session", 6 October 2015