Cybercrime Law Copies 2001 European Treaty

Parts of Cambodia’s draft cybercrime law were copied nearly wholesale from a 2001 European treaty on cybercrime, a government adviser said Thursday.

Phu Leewood, who advises the government on information technology, said that some sections of the law are directly copied from the 2001 Convention on Cybercrime passed by the Council of Europe.

“The National Assembly cannot pass this law. There is a person who copied this law from a European treaty and translated and then just put the title of the law,” said Mr. Leewood, who previously spent a decade as the secretary-general of the National Information Communication Technology Development Authority.

A comparison of the two documents shows that some sections of the Cambodian Cybercrime Law, such as articles on child pornography and misuse of an electronic device, have been copied from the treaty. The only difference is that the Cambodian law adds specific punishments to the offenses.

Mr. Leewood said the draft law appeared to have been drafted by people with little knowledge of information technology.

One part of the Cambodian draft law not copied from the Convention on Cybercrime is the controversial Article 28, which allows for punishment of people who publish content online that slanders or undermines the government’s integrity.

The law also creates a 14-person body known as the National Anti-Cybercrime Committee (NACC), chaired by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which would have control over implementation of the law.

If enacted, the cyber law could protect the government, rather than the people of Cambodia, according to the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice Computer Crime Unit.

“It’s one thing for the chief executive to set overall policy, but having him decide what is a crime is unusual,” said Mark Rasch, the former U.S. official.

“It raises speculation that the law would be used for the preservation of the administration as opposed to the preservation of the country,” said Mr. Rasch, who now is chief privacy and data security officer for Science Applications International Corp., a U.S. government contractor based in Virginia.

wilwohl@cambodiadaily.com, reaksmey@cambodiadaily.com

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