Muscat: A key seminar on cybercrimes concluded on Monday with participants adopting a set of recommendations calling for, among other things, judges to be suitably trained to hear criminal cases brought against cyber criminals.

The two-day event attracted participants from a large number of government, public and private sector organisations. It was organised by the state-run Informational Technology Authority (ITA) which is spearheading Oman’s transformation into an e-enabled digital society.

Delegates also mooted amendments to the country’s Penal Law to address sophisticated Internet-related crimes. They called on members of the elected Shura Council to expedite efforts to upgrade existing statutes criminalising cyber offences.

Additionally, the forum called for the Royal Oman Police (ROP) to be suitably trained in the prevention, detection and investigation of cyber crimes. Attendees stressed the need for urgent and comprehensive collaboration between law enforcement agencies, public prosecution and the judiciary in fighting e-crime. Cooperation with international anti-cybercrime agencies, including Interpol, was mooted as well.

Officials representing the ITA insist that the Omani Penal Law, promulgated in 1974, covers cybercrime in addition to conventional crime. More recent statutes, such as the e-Transaction Law and the Cybercrimes Combating Law, add further teeth to the country’s legal provisions against IT crimes, they argue.

However, IT and cybercrime experts warn that current laws are not tough enough to deter criminals, thereby leaving Oman potentially more vulnerable to criminal syndicates operating via the Internet.