US and Indonesia agree on cyber security pact

Deal includes cooperation against financial crime, further training for Indonesian police

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

Indonesia's police chief Tito Karnavian and US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein reached the agreement on Monday, 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 yesterday.

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

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

Mr Rosenstein said 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 days after the adoption of the Asean-US Leaders' Statement on Cyber-security 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 at the 33rd Asean Summit.

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

Cyber security was also the focus of the four-day Interpol event in the United Arab Emirates, which ends today.

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.

Increased use of artificial intelligence and robotics, as well as innovation in the field of forensics are also key discussion issues, 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, are attending the conference, which addresses 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 set to elect a new president today, 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 criticised by human rights groups which 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 elected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2018, with the headline 'US and Indonesia agree on cyber security pact'. Subscribe