Critically Examine the Readiness of Tonga’s Legislative Framework for e-Crimes
Governments and private organisations are heavily reliant on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to conduct daily businesses. We are living in a connected digital age, and the rapid growths and advancements in the ICT arena brings new opportunities. Criminals are welcoming these opportunities as well and exploiting it to conduct their illegal activities for their own personal gains. Criminal activities or crimes committed in cyberspace is often referred to as cybercrime or computer related crimes. At the time of conducting this study, a universal definition for the term “cybercrime” does not currently exist. However, the most accepted definition is, “a criminal activity that either target or uses a computer or a computer system as a tool”. Cybercriminals are organised, they possess high technical skills and use advanced methods. Their motivation behind their actions are usually personal, political, or monetary benefits, and result in serious economic impacts. In a recent study on cybercrime conducted by the Vienna office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed that 62% of global Internet users are from developing countries and, most of them are committed by young people. Cybercrimes implies significant procedural and jurisdictional issues. For that reason, this study believes that it is vital to identify the weaknesses of cybercrime related legislations of the countries in the South Pacific. Therefore, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and Kiribati have been chosen as case studies to represent developing countries in the South Pacific. Their legislation frameworks will be analysed and compared; the outcome of this study will be referred to throughout this study as “TKFS”. With New Zealand being a well-developed country in the South Pacific, its cybercrime related legislations will be analysed, and the results will then be compared with the TKFS. The outcome of this analysis and comparison will be used to answer the research questions, draw a conclusion and propose recommendations. Since this study will involve analysing and comparing the legislative frameworks of five countries, Doctrinal Research Methodology (DRM) is found to be the most suitable research methodology to guide this study. Doctrinal research is defined as the research that asks what the law is in a specific area. Therefore, the researcher will need to collect and analyse data from any relevant legislation within the concerned legal framework. The implication is that for cybercrime – a new, high-tech, sophisticated way of committing a crime. To effectively protect, prevent, and mitigate these implicated types of criminal offences, it requires a comprehensive cybercrime specific legislative framework to criminalise and prosecute cybercrimes. The completed study will contribute to the body of knowledge in the cybercrime related legislative framework. The professional significance is that the recommendations will help cybersecurity personnel in the field, and legislators in developing countries around the world.