Newsletter Newsletter N°2:

The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative: A multi-stakeholder approach to capability building to combat cybercrime

By Dave Piscitello, ICANN and Lara Pace, Commonwealth Secretariat.

Addressing cybercrime on the Internet is a key requirement to ensure that the Internet remains a trusted space for interactions and growth in the digital economy. A multistakeholder approach is key to successfully address this challenge.  For example, The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI) is a collaborative effort of international organisations, governments, and the private sector to address cybercrime. Developed collaboratively with the COMNET Foundation for ICT Development, Commonwealth Telecom Organization, Council of Europe, Government of UK, and International Telecommunications Union CCI assists Commonwealth member states in building capacity to fight cybercrime.

CCI has adopted a unique and sustainable formula for operation:

  • Upon receiving a formal request from a Commonwealth member state, CCI sends a needs assessment team to conduct an in-country assessment. A typical team is composed of subject matter experts in criminal justice systems and information security, who assess the legal, technical, institutional and human capacity present in the requesting state.
  • The needs assessment team meets with a broad range of in-country agencies, private sector actors, and infrastructure operators and produces a thematic report that identifies areas where capability building is needed.
  • The requesting state reviews the thematic report and submits a further letter of request to COMSEC to help “fill the gaps” (assist in-country for the areas where capability building is needed).
  • CCI members cooperate to plan and execute on capability building. In this Phase two program, initiative members who have volunteered resources will work in-country to increase capabilities across a range of cybercrime-affected areas or operations, including national strategy and policy, legislative framework, criminal justice system capacity (including the training of law enforcement, judiciary, and prosecution), ICT infrastructure, establishment of Centres of Excellence and computer emergency response teams, public awareness campaigns, and facilitation of strategic partnerships with the private sector.

More than 30 organisations participate in CCI to coordinate available international resources, to extend assistance to member states, and to overcome mandate restrictions and funding limitations member states may encounter.  To date, CCI has carried out five needs assessments in the Caribbean and African Regions. Five governments have approved the thematic reports.

“Phase 2” programs are excellent examples of multi-stakeholder collaboration and contribution. For the Phase 2 program of work underway in West Africa, for example, the UK National Crime Agency is coordinating the delivery by Initiative members for criminal justice system capacity building, a public awareness program, preparation of ICT infrastructure to support cybercrime investigations, and legislative framework needs.

Consultations are currently underway in another four Commonwealth countries. It is expected that these will be launched in the first quarter of 2014.




Dave Piscitello has been involved in Internet technology for over 39 years. Dave serves as Vice president, Security and ICT Coordination, at ICANN, where he collaborates with the information security, DNS, and law enforcement communities on a diverse range of security issues related to the Domain Name System and domain name registration processes, including phishing, pharming, DDoS attacks, domain hijacking and other registration abuses. Dave serves on the Executive Management Committee for the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative.



Lara Pace is Projects Coordinator for the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative. Previously, she served as coordinator of the Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum through which the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative was developed. Lara has been involved with (CCI) since inception and has formed part of the team that has driven the Initiative from concept to implementation. Currently Lara, coordinates all Country projects of CCI, liaising with both governments and Consortium organisations. She also facilitates the development of the Initiative into an established programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat.