Tonga is first Pacific country to join Budapest Convention on Cybercrime

Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of EuropeGabriella Battaini-Dragoni. Photo: SUPPLIED

STRASBOURG, France, May 10, 2017 (MEIDECC): The Kingdom of Tonga has become the first Pacific Country and the 55th Party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime after the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni signed the treaty, which allows for effective international co-operation on cyber-crime and electronic evidence, in Strasbourg, France yesterday.

Hon Sovaleni, who is also the Minister of Information and Communication in Tonga, signed with Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni and Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, receiving the instrument (9 May 2017) at the CoE Headquarter, Strasbourg, France. Photo: SUPPLIED

Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni and Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, receiving the instrument (9 May 2017) at the CoE Headquarter, Strasbourg, France. Photo: SUPPLIED

Ms Battaini-Dragoni praised Tonga’s accession and said this was a sign that the Convention has reached the world at large.

“Tonga’s accession to the Budapest Convention is further evidence of the global reach of this treaty,” she said.

“The efforts by Tonga to bring domestic legislation in line with the Convention and to strengthen criminal justice capacities are setting an example for the Pacific Island region.”

Hon Sovaleni said that the arrival of high-speed Internet via broadband connection in Tonga in  2013 brought many opportunities in terms of e-commerce, e-government and access to information, for example.

He added that cybercriminals exploit the very same opportunities, thus the need to ensure there is a structure in place that can focus on eliminating that abuse.

“This is why joining the Budapest Convention, accompanied by technical assistance, is so important for Tonga and for the Pacific region,” he added.

The accession by Tonga is the result of cooperation with the Council of Europe since 2010.

In 2014, when Tonga requested accession to the Budapest Convention, it became a priority country under the Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY), a capacity building project of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

The Budapest Convention is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, dealing particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also contains a series of powers and procedures such as the search of computer networks and interception.

Its main objective, set out in the preamble, is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime, especially by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation.

 






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