The Philippine Department of Justice and the Council of Europe will jointly organize a conference for countries in the Southeast Asian region to improve regional and international cooperation against cybercrime.
The economic and social impact of cybercrime in the region is huge. Offences range from fraud and financial crime to sextortion, child abuse and other forms of online violence, or attacks against critical infrastructure.
Crime now takes place in cyberspace and any type of crime may entail evidence in electronic form. Securing such evidence to bring offenders to justice is a majorchallenge as it may be stored on servers in foreign, multiple or unknown jurisdictions, that is, “somewhere in the cloud”.
“Governments have the obligation to protect the rights of individuals and to maintain the rule of law in cyberspace. Therefore, the capacities of criminal justice authorities to investigate cybercrime and secure electronic evidence need to be enhanced. At the same time, law enforcement powers must be subject to safeguards. This is also true for the ASEAN region”, said Alexander Seger who heads the Cybercrime Division at the Council of Europe.
“Cybercrime is a global menace and serious threat to modernization and development of nations that needs to be addressed with the full extent of our laws. Securing electronic evidence has likewise become a justice challenge and accretion to our essential task to ensure a safer and secured online environment for all, especially our children”, said Philippine Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
“A unified and coordinated approach among us is the key to make sure that technological progress is anchored in our mandate – that is to ensure that while crimes ought not to go unpunished, wherever cybercriminals may be found, the full force of the law must apply”, he added.
The regional conference will:
- focus on the challenges of securing electronic evidence “in the cloud” and the solutions now being developed by the Parties to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime;
- discuss the specific need to prevent child sexual abuse online through legislation and international cooperation;
- promote financial investigations to seize proceeds from crime online;
- present case studies to identify best practices regarding online investigations and international cooperation.
The conference is thus to contribute to a consistent approach to combat cybercrime and secure electronic evidence for criminal justice purposes in the Southeast Asian region, in line with international standards and rule of law requirements.
The Philippines is in the process of acceding to the Budapest Convention and will eventually join countries in the Asia/Pacific region that are already State Parties to this treaty, such as Australia, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Tonga.
The Philippines is one of the priority countries, and serves as a hub for capacity building for the Southeast Asia Region, under the “Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+)” joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The conference page may be view at https://www.coe.int/en/web/cybercrime/-/enhancing-regional-and-international-cooperation-in-the-southeast-asian-region