Maldives to set up network to tackle cybercrime

South Machangolhi MP Ahmed Haitham. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Amendments have been submitted to the Act on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, designed to set up procedures for exchange of legal assistance with other countries in order to stop and take action against cybercrimes, crimes committed using computer systems, and crimes that involve electronic evidence.

The bill was presented on behalf of the government by South Machangolhi MP Ahmed Haitham on Tuesday morning.

Presenting the bill, Haitham noted the increase in crimes in the cyberspace in Maldives, and the expansion of such crimes with the aid of modern technology.

He said that it is therefore necessary to set up procedures so Maldives can seek legal assistance from other countries to stop such crimes.

Haitham’s bill adds eight clauses after Article 14 of the  Act on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, under the headline ‘Seeking Electronic Evidence’.

The new provisions establish that Maldivian authorities collaborate with a foreign agency, foreign country, or international agency in accordance with set procedures for investigation of, or to find electronic evidence in crimes involving computer systems or data.

And in certain circumstances, authorized criminal investigation authorities may extract data stored in computer systems overseas using computer systems in Maldives, without requiring permission from foreign countries.

The circumstances in which this is allowed includes, imminent danger to a person’s life or safety, based on the number of victims or extent of damage, and if Maldives faces extensive economic damage.

The bill is also designed to mandate the establishment of a 24/7 network to provide real time mutual assistance for investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes.

The network must be published by the police, and will provide technical advice, preserve data, find electronic evidence, provide legal information, and track suspects.