17 years ago, the Commonwealth published a Model Law on Electronic Evidence; a landmark document that recognised that the world was changing and that all 53 members of the Commonwealth needed to turn their gaze to the impact of digitisation on the way they uphold the rule of law across the world.
On 10th and 11th September 2019, it was my privilege to join the Expert Working Group in London at Marlborough House, seeking to bring this up to date. As part of the response to the Cybercrime Declaration, 2018, Legal representative from the Governments of Singapore, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Tonga, United Kingdom, Scotland, Botswana, Fiji, Gambia, Jamaica, St Lucia, along with Dr Micheal O’Flynn, from the University of Glasgow, Dan Suter from iJust and colleagues from the UNODC, FCO and ComSec spent 2 very long days getting into the complexities and nuances of this vital area of the law.
In my role within the Expert Working Group I submitted a paper (written jointly with A.M. Pettigny), gave a presentation and ran a discussion session on the subject of Secure Messaging in the Context of Cross-Border Co-operation in Criminal Matters.
17 years on from the original publication, the increased use of digital technologies, in particular social media and messaging apps such as Whatsapp, is affecting all our lives and is especially relevant when considering it’s use in the context of criminal matters, particularly when crime travels across borders in physical- and in cyber- space.
The Working Group has drafted a number of recommendations, including some of mine in the subject of secure messaging technology and email, that will be considered by the next meeting of the Commonwealth Law Ministers in November.
It’s great to be involved so closely with the Commonwealth and I am looking forward to continuing my work in helping build capacity across the Commonwealth in cross-border collaboration, through a programme of training exercises and the trialling of a new secure messaging platform during the rest of the year and into 2020. Further collaboration with the UN may even be on the cards.