Senate ratifies international cybercrime treaty

The Senate has ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime, the first multinational, multilateral treaty to require cooperation among law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of computer network crimes, including the execution of searches and seizures, and extradition of individuals sought for these crimes.

The treaty has more than 40 signatory nations, including Canada, Japan, South Africa, the United States and the countries of Europe.

"The United States was a leading participant in the negotiation of the Convention and expects it to have a significant law enforcement impact, particularly in terms of our ability to obtain assistance from other countries in the investigation and prosecution of trans-border computer-related crimes," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). "In particular, it will enhance our ability to cooperate with foreign governments in fighting terrorism, computer hacking, money laundering and child pornography, among other crimes."

Major IT advocacy groups welcomed the news. The Information Technology Association of America, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) all praised the Senate for taking action.

Robert Holleyman, BSA's president and CEO, said, "Cybercriminals are not limited by borders, and this treaty will help ensure that law enforcement isn't either."

The organizations also thanked Lugar and other key lawmakers, including Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) for their diligence in securing the ratification.

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