Vanuatu Chief Information Officer To Begin Consultations On Cybercrime Bill

Gov assurances it will not filter content, critique that Bill does not include critical components of any cybercrime regime and intellectual property and digital copyright

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, May 22, 2017) – The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) will embark on consultations on the proposed Cybercrime Bill, in the coming weeks.

This was revealed by OGCIO ICT Program Manager Jackson Miake in an interview with Vanuatu Nightly News’ Kizzy Kalsakau during the Pacific ICT Days last week.

Commenting on the subject of filter and what people in Vanuatu can currently view, access and read on the internet, Mr. Miake said the internet is like a house full of good and bad things.

“We are very mindful of the rights of users to access information. From the Government point of view, we would like to leave the internet as open as possible to everyone,” he said.

“We do not intend to do any filtering at this stage, unless it relates to something very severe.”

This, is where the Cybercrime Bill comes in.

“The Cybercrime Bill has been drafted,” he said. “We will be doing consultations right after the ICT Days.

“This Bill has provisions for issues such as information that is not useful for younger viewers, for instance. It covers that in detail.

“Hopefully, after consultations we would be able to consolidate a more practical approach on how to we can deal with content that is not favorable, especially to our younger Internet users.”

The Bill was initially slated to be tabled in Parliament in the Ordinary Session of Parliament late 2016 but that did not eventuate.

At the time, Daily Post published a front-page article with the headline “Cybercrime Bill ‘Unsafe’ ”, followed by several other articles on this legislation.

It highlights several areas found wanting, in particular, the Bill left out critical components of any cybercrime regime and intellectual property and digital copyright, which are of paramount importance to preserve Vanuatu’s cultural and artistic heritage, are missing from the text.

When questioned on the timeframe of the next step being advanced on the Cybercrime Bill, Mr. Miake replied:

“We intended to have this Bill discussed in Parliament last year but due to some technical reasons, this was not possible.

“However, we are hopeful that it will be tabled in the last sitting of Parliament in 2017”.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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