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Pacific to establish cybercrime collaborative platform as threat escalates

22 February 2016

Law enforcement, legal officers and government officials, from across the Commonwealth Pacific region, will meet in Nuku’alofa, Tonga for a three day (24-26 February) regional meeting to tackle deepening concerns around cybercrime.

The Commonwealth-led initiative will address growing worries that cybercrime poses a major obstacle to socio-economic development, peace, and stability. Cross-country collaboration by the member states, which includes assistance from international agencies, is hoped to enhance individual country responses to the disturbing growth of advanced cybercrime in resource-constrained environments.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo said: “Cybercriminals do not respect national boundaries. Consequently, the Commonwealth is working at a regional level to stem the scourge of a debilitating threat to national security.

“High-tech crime is particularly challenging at a time when countries seek to allocate precious resources so as to achieve the most effective development goals. The Commonwealth’s anti-cybercrime effort is crucial to underpinning both the rule of law and to provide the space for civil societies to prosper.”

Recent research points to the cost of cybercrime climbing to as much as $2.1 trillion by 2019[1]. Even with the best possible legal measures, the speed of offending is a major challenge for investigators, and the practical implications of this include the need for a high degree of skill, high quality equipment and extensive training.

The three-day conference, which is hosted in collaboration with the Government of Tonga, International Association of Prosecutors and the Pacific Islands Law Officers Network, will provide delegates with the opportunity to analyse regional trends and share expertise in cybercrime amongst law enforcement officials. Participants will be exposed to specialist and technical training aimed at improving their skills and competencies which is urgently needed to contribute much more effectively in their investigations and prosecutions of cybercrime related offences. The training will also seek to establish an informal network of Pacific Region Cybercrime Justice Practitioners on a secure virtual platform to foster collaboration within the region and beyond.

Shadrach Haruna, Legal Adviser in the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Rule of Law Division commented: “The complexity and speed of evolution of cybercrime makes it essential that expertise in policy, law, law enforcement, prosecution and prevention not only be developed but also monitored, maintained and updated frequently.”

[1] Cybercrime & the internet of threats, Juniper Research, 2015