Commonwealth Countries' Cybercrime Laws: An Overview

Cover image of Cybercrime Laws

The security and integrity of computer systems, digital data and networks have grown to be major concerns for states, organisations and people as a result of the development of the information society. Such concerns arise from the fact that malicious acts, such as ransomware, which target computer systems and their networks, have the potential to cause harm to individuals, countries and the global economy. Accordingly, many states and intergovernmental organisations across the world have taken steps to establish legal measures to criminalise and deter malicious acts that affect the integrity, confidentiality, availability and security of digital data and computer systems.

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This mapping report, which is by no means exhaustive, an illustrative overview of the cybercrime laws in the 56 Commonwealth countries. It considers relevant provisions of statutes, legislative instruments and administrative regulations relevant to cybercrime, including computer misuse, electronic evidence and cybersecurity. The report gives a brief overview of the provisions of the law and applicable sanctions for cybercrimes, such as unauthorised interception of data, cyberstalking, unauthorised access to computer
systems, pornography and child pornography.

The aim of this report is to map existing national cybercrime laws, identify gaps in cybercrime legislation, highlight existing cybercrime initiatives and capacity gaps in cybersecurity policy efforts in Commonwealth countries. The report objective goes further to inform capacity building priorities and highlight areas for
cybersecurity co-operation and collaboration, including to enhance priorities for technical assistance, mutual legal assistance and information sharing for Commonwealth countries.