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Tonga

Last updated : 20/02/2018

Status regarding Budapest Convention

Status : Party Ratified : 09/05/2017 See legal profile

Cybercrime policies/strategies

There are no current policies specific to cybercrime and cybersecurity. On a wider scale, related issues can be found in other policies, namely: the Kingdom of Tonga National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy, the Freedom of Information Policy, and the Tonga Broadband Investment Policy.

Under the ICT Policy, the Cyber Challenges Task Force (CCTF) was created on 13 December 2013, to provide a coordinated approach to technology issues in Tonga. It is a partnership between Government, Non-Government Organisations (NGO’s), Private Sector and Development Partners.

The Task Force’s terms of reference included establishing a national CERT to protect the government, private businesses, and the public. 

On 1 July 2016 Tonga CERT commenced operations. Known as CERT.to, it is attached to the Information and ICT department of the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change and Communications.

Specialised institutions

The Computer Crimes Act 2003 sets out Royal Tonga Police as the lead law enforcement authority with procedural powers that may be used to investigate, detect and prosecute computer crimes.  The Royal Tonga Police established the Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) in 2003 that became the Serious Organized Transnational Crime Unit (SOTCU) in 2010. It is currently responsible for transnational crimes including cybercrimes.

The Royal Tonga Police currently has no digital forensics capability and sometimes calls upon the resources of the Australian Federal Police or the New Zealand Police to assist in investigations.

The Attorney General’s Office (AG), which handles prosecutions does not have a specialised unit for cybercrime or electronic evidence cases. The role of the prosecutor includes advising the police during investigations to ensure that correct procedures are followed and that investigative activity complies with legislation.

There are only currently two judges that sit on the bench in the Supreme Court of Tonga. They are not specialised in the area of cybercrime however they have tried a number cases involving electronic evidence.  

The Financial Intelligence Unit at the Central Bank receives information from the Asia Pacific Money Laundering Group and they deal with the Suspicious Transaction reports, which they hand to the police (SOTCU) for investigations.

Jurisprudence/case law

Sources and links