Coalition lobbies for ratification of Convention on Cybercrime

A coalition of industry associations and individual companies from different sectors of the economy are asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to ratify the Convention on Cybercrime adopted through the Council of Europe.

In a letter sent to the committee today, the coalition asks lawmakers to review the treaty and focus on the importance of global cooperation in fighting Internet-based crime, including fraud, identity theft, hacking and other offenses.

The Convention on Cybercrime is the first and only international, multilateral treaty specifically addressing the need for cooperation in investigating and prosecuting computer network crimes. The United States signed the treaty in November 2001; ratification would minimize obstacles to international cooperation that currently hinder U.S. investigation and prosecution of computer-related crimes.

To date, eight of the 42 countries that signed the treaty have completed the ratification process.

The coalition backing the call for ratification includes the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), the American Bankers Association, the American Chemistry Council, ASIS International, the Association for Competitive Technology, the Bankers' Association for Finance and Trade, the Business Roundtable, the Dow Chemical Co., the Financial Services/Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Information Technology Association of America, InfraGard, the Internet Commerce Coalition and Verisign Inc.

"The premise of the Cybercrime Treaty is quite simple: To participate in the community of trading nations and benefit from global e-commerce, one should adhere to international standards, agreed-upon legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA. "Senate ratification of this treaty is an important and necessary step to address the international law enforcement of cybercrimes and the much-needed sanctions against cybercriminals."

Paul Kurtz, executive director of CSIA, said U.S. ratification of the treaty would send a message to the world that it is serious about cracking down on Internet-based crimes.

"Ratification would encourage other signatory countries to more rapidly ratify and lead to a larger number of nations becoming party to the convention," Kurtz said. "The U.S. has the opportunity to strengthen international cybercrime laws by preventing criminals from hiding beyond the reach of those authorities protecting the rights of the world's law-abiding citizens."

Patience Wait is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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