Indonesia and US reach agreement to cooperate on cyber security, on sidelines of Interpol General Assembly

Indonesian National Police and the United States Attorney-General's Office have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation against  transnational  cyber and financial crime.

Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian and US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein reached the agreement on Monday (Nov 19), on the sidelines of the 87th Interpol General Assembly being held in Dubai this week.

General Tito said the pact with the US Attorney-General's Office will also see Indonesian police officers undergoing law enforcement-related training programmes conducted by their American counterparts.

"The education and training programmes will help improve the knowledge and skills of Indonesian National Police personnel," he said in a statement published by state news agency Antara on Tuesday.

He added that the new pact with the US could also enhance the courses currently held at the Australia-backed Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

Indonesia and the US have a longstanding security cooperation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Mr Rosenstein said that the security cooperation between the two countries is strategic and needs to be continued, particularly in the area of capacity building.

The latest collaboration between Indonesia and the US in law enforcement comes just days after the adoption of the Asean-US Leaders' Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation.

The cyber-security pact between the regional bloc and the US, which aims to strengthen capabilities against cybercrime and cyber attacks, was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore last week during the 33rd Asean Summit.

With the world facing renewed anxieties over nuclear warfare and grappling with the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism, Asean nations and eight of their key partners have vowed to step up cooperation in a range of security areas.

These eight countries are Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the US and Russia.

The subject of cyber security is also the focus of the four-day Interpol event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which ends on Wednesday.

Given that more than 55 per cent of the world's population have Internet access, criminals are increasingly going after data to make money, as shown by recent ransomware attacks, said Interpol in a statement.

The increased use of artificial intelligence and robotics, as well as innovation in the field of forensics are also key issues for discussion, it added.

"In the age of unprecedented information exchange, police the world over are increasingly facing new challenges," said Interpol senior vice-president Kim Jong Yang in his opening address on Sunday.

"Criminal data and the rules surrounding its processing have become critical contours for shaping the work of international police cooperation."

Close to 1,000 representatives from 173 countries, including 85 police chiefs, were at the conference to address how technology will change future threats and how it can be used by law enforcement to meet these challenges.

Mr Kim said key decisions taken by the Interpol General Assembly will also support officers on the front lines of policing.

Interpol is also set to elect a new president on Wednesday, after its former chief Meng Hongwei was arrested recently by China's top anti-corruption watchdog, which has powers of extrajudicial detention.

Mr Kim, who is from South Korea, and Mr Alexander Prokopchuk, a former major-general at the Russian Interior Ministry, are in the running for the top post at Interpol.

Bloomberg news on Sunday reported that Mr Prokopchuk is expected to be elected.

Meng's election during a closed-door vote in 2016, was seen as a coup for the Communist Party, but also criticised by human rights groups who warned that China might use his position to facilitate the use of extrajudicial practice - such as detention without charge.

Similar concerns over Russia's use of Interpol's "red notice" - a request to arrest an individual pending extradition - are expected if Mr Prokopchuk were to be appointed.