Third-year computer engineering technology students could be on the front line in the battle against foreign corruption.
Hassan Hamza, 25, is leading his group of student peers in developing a secure communication website that will allow for the confidential and safe exchange of information for the International Foreign Bribery Taskforce.
The IFBT is a joint operation between the RCMP, FBI, Australian Federal Police and the City of London Police.
“Instead of using email or phone, they’ll use our communication site and more (members) will be able to see (the information),” said Hamza.
Meanwhile, John Falbo, 20, is leading the other group in developing an anti-corruption search engine that will allow small-to-medium enterprises find free and paid information on how to solve their compliancy problems from within their company.
“It’s actually very innovative,” said Falbo. “It’s actually never been done.”
Smaller enterprises cannot always afford the necessary legal advice before starting a new business opportunity, so this search engine is meant to provide that information at a low cost.
By following the compliancy mandates, these ventures can be ensured that they are within regulation and won’t be risking lawsuits or fines.
The team’s goal is for the RCMP to adopt their search engine, and if not, for their work to be commercialized.
The two teams are working under the guidance of Edmund Strange, the co-ordinator and a professor of applied research at Algonquin. The projects have been commissioned by Sgt. Patrice Poitevin of the RCMP’s sensitive and international investigations unit.
Hamza’s aim is to develop a forum for communication that is easy to use and completely secure where the IFBT can share information and interact with one another. This will allow them to post documents and bring important articles to the attention of one another, in a securer fashion than email.
Hamza’s team had worked through multiple iterations of the site before settling on a simple layout and function, hoping to encourage IFBT members to use it.
“The guiding principle of which I teach these guys is if you make something that people go to once and never want to go back to again, then you’ve failed,” said Strange.
This site is meant specifically to allow for accessible communication between the different bodies of the IFBT and not for the exchange of ongoing, secretive cases.
Hamza’s team is also developing a complaint form for the RCMP that will let workers within Canadian companies anonymously report bribery.
“If a Canadian company is working in some other developing country and an employee would like to report bribery that goes on between him or say, the locals, that’s illegal in Canada, there’s this anonymous form that they can fill out,” said Hamza.
“They can detail what they’ve seen or what kind of bribery that the officials were involved in.”
Both Hamza’s and Falbo’s projects have been ongoing for the last four months, with Strange estimating that the project has so far taken 500 hours.