Mr Alexander Seger from the Council of Europe;
Mr Andrew Warnes from the Australians Attorney-General's Department;
Mr Siaosi Sovaleni of SPC;
Reverend Vilitoni Satini;
Ladies and gentlemen;
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to Tonga, and to this Cybercrime Legislation Workshop, which will be held here at the Fa'onelua Convention Centre for the next three days. I am aware that this workshop is a follow up and one of the actions taken in accordance with the Tonga Declaration, and we are happy to again host this important workshop in exactly the same venue where the Tonga Declaration was made in June last year.
I thank in particular to the SPC, the Council of Europe and the Government of Australia for co-organizing this workshop, especially recognizing the importance of having to protect ourselves in the Pacific and our quest in developments against the misuse of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for criminal or other ‘unsocietal' purposes, and more importantly criminalizing those abusers.
Lack of resources and capacity are familiar limitations in our joint efforts in the Pacific to provide adequate measures against this rather international criminal act. Since threats can originate anywhere around the globe, the challenges are inherently international in scope, and it seems that the solution requires international cooperation, investigative assistance, and common substantive and procedural provisions.
Since the beginning of the millennium, the UN adopted Resolutions of combating the criminal misuse of information technologies and creation of a global culture of cyber security and the protection of critical information infrastructures.
The ITU on the other hand, adopted similar Resolutions both at the World Summits on Information Society (WSIS) and the last Plenipotentiary Conference in Mexico, calling to build confidence and security in the use of ICT and by launching of the Global Cyber-security Agenda (GCA) which is framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing confidence and security in the information society, and requiring elaboration of strategies for the development of cybercrime legislation that is globally applicable and interoperable with existing national and regional legislative measures.
Through this framework, the ITU has made available resources like, the establishment of the Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (PacCERT) at the USP in Suva; close synergies and accessing services and infrastructure provided by IMPACT (International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats) in Malaysia; and the Toolkit for Cybercrime Legislation, which aims to provide countries with sample legislative language and reference material that can assist in the establishment of harmonised cybercrime laws and procedural rules.
The Council of Europe's Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is another standard reference and very useful resource. Such Convention is necessary to deter action directed against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems, networks and computer data as well as the misuse of such systems, networks and data by providing for the criminalisation of such conduct, as described in this Convention, and the adoption of powers sufficient for effectively combating such criminal offences by facilitating their detection, investigation and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.
We also recall the successful outcome of the inaugural Joint Energy, ICT and Transport Ministerial Meeting just concluded in Noumea earlier this month, where in the ICT Ministerial segment, it calls for international supports in cyber-security and child online protection initiatives in the region.
Perhaps Tonga is one of the very few countries in the pacific to have in place such legislation when the Computer Crimes Act was enacted in 2003, and there are also other related cybercrime legislations currently in force. But they all need to be revised since communications technology has outpaced these legislative and regulatory measures.
I believe there are several factors critical to achieving the objectives of this workshop, which include a comprehensive national cyber-security plan which requires initial assessment of the present situation, a strong commitment and leadership by central government to fight misuse of ICTs by enacting dedicated laws, clear organizational responsibility for enforcement activities, and the practical issue of making available adequate resources for the enforcement authority for monitoring and protecting cyber-security. I hope that this workshop will help facilitate international cooperation, advance a national legislative framework, resolve jurisdictional and evidentiary issues and deter cyber criminal behaviour.
I wish you all a successful workshop, and please take a moment or two to visit the island if time permits. A safe return journey to you all when you will be leaving us at the end of the workshop, and send our greetings to your people. With that, I now declare this workshop open.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011.