‘Strategic Partnership Against Cyber Threats’

By Sonny Zulhuda

team-work-toon-2-dudesThis week attending the OIC-CERT Seminar 2008 held in one hotel in KL between13-15 January 2009 organized by Cyber Security Malaysia. Series of lectures, workshops and discussions in which talks on information security and cyber terrorism issues were held. The theme is as reflected in the tile above.

From legal points of view, Datuk Abdul Raman Saad, among others, gave his views on legal aspects of cyber-terrorism and cyber crimes (‘Bad Economy Fuels Cyber Crime’). He noted one report from the Star on 6th January 2009 quoting the Minister of Water, Energy and Communications saying that the ministry had sobmitted more than 30 cyber crime cases to the Attorney Chambers in the last three years (the same was reported by Bernama).

This fact alone is quite alarming. Do we then need a specific ‘cyber court’? This is what the speaker is arguing for, echoing the suggestion from the Minister in the report. This kind of specilized court is deemed timely and appropriate. However no discussion as to what is meant by the word ‘cyber court’ here.

Perhaps we are looking at a special tribunal-like mechanism where judges and skilled experts can sit to address issues on cyber-crimes.

earlier in the morning session, Datuk Raman also commented on the need to have an internationally-uniform cyberlaw codes. That is perhaps unthinkable, just yet. The most interesting part is the argument put up by him. He said that there should be no difficulty to have a uniform cyberlaw codes because the norms in this field are not based on long standing community traditional and historical values – unlike other conventional laws that are influenced heavily by local norms, ethics, etc. Rather, cyberlaw is supposed to be international and common in nature, because it a new breed of laws, based on the norms of computing community and rather new digital environment, which is commonly shared by any community in the world.

In other words, using this argument, we should be able to say that a crime of hacking, for example, sould be recognized as a crime in any community in the world. So, cyberlaw ought to be an international norm.

That is absolutely an exciting point of view!

In my view, this is a very good ground to start with for the purpose of unifying cyberlaw in the world. noting that there is so far EU-promoted Cybercrime Convention 2001 which is regarded as the only multilateral treaty on cybercrime issues. This also remind me to what I wrote several years ago (in my Master’s dissertation in 2002) that cyber crimes and data abuse should be addressed in a more international manner.

Nevertheless, I noted that the same argument cannot be used in one area of  cybercrime: offensive content issue! what is offensive to me may not be the case to you. What people here deems offensive may be okayed in other coutnry. This is very true because, in fact, such sorms and standards are based on the long-standing norms and values exist in any given society. Therefore, a cybercrime law on offensive content would, i believe, still stand very differently from one country to another.

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