Computer Crime Research Center


Asia Hindered by Lack of Cybercrime Laws

Date: April 16, 2008
By: Vivian Yeo

Bryan Tan, director at Keystone Law Corporation, told ZDNet Asia that in many countries in the region, legislation to counter cybercrime either are very basic or have not been passed.

"[Developing countries] have a lot of other issues--bread and butter ones--to worry about," he explained.

In the last two years, a number of administrations in the region have indicated efforts to put cybercrime legislation in place. According to a November 2007 report, the Philippine government had submitted an anti-cybercrime draft bill as early as 2005, but it has not been passed by Congress as yet.

Thailand is another country that has been pushing for tighter control over online activities. For example, Web content providers are required to keep logs for 90 days.

And in February, Macau announced plans to finalize draft laws to counter online crime and pornography.

Yet, Tan noted, cross-border collaboration is important due to the international nature of cybercrime. Legislation can facilitate cross-border cooperation, particularly to gather evidence in the country where the crime had been committed.

Tan pointed out that if a particular country has penalties spelt out and procedures for obtaining evidence and enforcement, a cooperation agreement could tap on that.

Singapore's ICT industry regulator, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), said the country "actively participates" in activities in which the international community aims to promote collaboration. The island-state also shares cyber security experiences with other countries in the region, through contributing reference documents, for example.

In an e-mail, an IDA spokesperson said: "International collaboration has become crucial due to the borderless nature of certain issues such as cybercrime."

For the past two years, IDA has through the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT) led the inaugural Asean CERTs Incident Drill (ACID). The annual drill tests the incident handling capabilities of the various national computer emergency response teams in Southeast Asia and inter-country cooperation in responding to threats.

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