Government of Tonga and a New Zealand university to collaborate on cyber security issues

The University of Waikato and the Government of the Tonga have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that sets out a framework to work collaboratively on cyber security issues.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Communications and Climate Change (MEIDECC) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hon Siaosi Sovaleni signed the agreement on behalf of the Tongan Government. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bruce Clarkson signed on behalf of Waikato University.

Hon Siaosi Sovaleni says it was timely that the signing of the agreement and the visit took place during the recent global cyber ransomware attack.

He also said the agreement provides an opportunity for Tongans to attach and learn from researchers at Waikato specifically on this field.

Both parties agreed to work on capability building, research collaborations, and staff and student exchange – aiming to ensure the success of the lab’s STRATUS project, the Tongan government’s E-Government project and the Tonga National CERT. This work builds on Siuta Laulaupea’alu’s thesis work who recently graduated with a Master in Computer Science from the university.

Associate Professor and Head of the University’s Cyber Security Lab Dr Ryan Ko says the relationship between the University and the Government of Tonga will support the goals of enhancing capability development, and providing a basis for research programs.

“It is an honour for us to host Tonga Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni and the Tongan delegation,” he says.

“Through Siuta’s project, we were able to develop great synergies and a strong collaborative spirit. This MoU will enhance the ability of both organisations to leverage on Waikato’s cyber security research breakthroughs in data provenance, cyber security visualization, situation awareness, and applications of homomorphic encryption.”

While on campus, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni visited the Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW) Lab and the New Zealand internet’s first connection sites at the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences (FCMS). He also met with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Bruce Clarkson, FCMS Deputy Dean Associate Professor Stephen Joe and cyber security researchers to discuss potential projects and collaboration with Dr Ryan Ko and the CROW team.

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