By STAYCEY YALO
Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed the national Cyber crime Code Bill which will deal with crimes and offences committed against individuals, the public, government agencies or corporate entities through the use of computers and internet services.
Communications and Information Technology Minister, Jimmy Miringtoro said while the government recognizes the liberation of ICT, PNG has been exposed to cyber crimes, information security threats and related offences like in other countries.
“On a national basis, the legislation will enable law enforcement agencies to investigate and effectively prosecute such crimes in court, and on global plane, it will improve our country’s position against foreign incidences of Cyber crimes, particularly where offenders who are likely to move such illegal activities into the country given our current lack of adequate legislative measures,” he said.
“The development of the bill was guided by the basic principles and elements of cyber crime set out in the policy to foster development of an effective regulatory framework that will result in a better, more trustworthy and secure ICT environment.
“The proposed law contains provisions covering the most common and internationally accepted forms of offences that are of specific interest in the region and PNG.
“The offences include SPAM, child online grooming, online money laundering and unlawful advertising and the posting of commentaries using or connoting profanity or obscenity, or language or imagery that is vulgar or unacceptable or which grossly offends against accepted standards of public decency; to any person reading such post or commentary.
“The difficulty associated with the application of traditional principles of the state sovereignty and jurisdiction to the elements of cyber crime, the proposed legislation contains the requisite provisions dealing with jurisdiction that is in line with international regional best practices.”
He said one of the main challenges currently is the admissibility of electronic evidences in courts to successfully prosecute offenders.
“The Evidence Act 1975 does not adequately provide for electronic evidences to be admitted in courts and as a result amendments have been prepared to effectively enable admission of electronic evidences in court,” said Mr Miringtoro.
He said cyber crimes cannot be committed without the use of services and network providers who receive, store or transmit large volumes of content on behalf of the subscribers and as such the bill will impose some degree of responsibility or liability to the ICT service providers.
He said bill will be a substantive dealing with cyber crimes and it will complement the existing criminal laws by amending certain provisions of those laws that make mention of computer or electronic offences.
Mr Miringtoro said the bill received broad support from the industry, law enforcement agencies and government stakeholders while dismissing suggestions that the bill suppresses the rights of citizens to freedom of speech, assembly, information or expression.
He said with the passage of the bill the police force and courts will require appropriate training and capacity to investigate and prosecute offenders of cyber crimes given the technical skills, knowledge and tools or equipment required to effectively implement the proposed law.