U.S. Signs Agreement to Strengthen International Law Enforcement Versus Cyber Crime

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The United States has signed an expanded version of the Budapest Convention that enables international cooperation to collect electronic information across borders to help combat cyber crime, the Justice Department said.

In signing the Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention, the U.S. marked another step to work together with other nations to protect citizens and hold perpetrators accountable. Of late, U.S. law enforcement and cyber authorities have issued a number of advisories and conducted multiple investigations of cyber activity across similar organizations of partner countries.

Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general Richard Downing signed on at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasburg, France.

“As cybercrime proliferates, electronic evidence is increasingly stored in different jurisdictions,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “The Second Additional Protocol is specifically designed to help law enforcement authorities obtain access to such electronic evidence, with new tools including direct cooperation with service providers and registrars, expedited means to obtain subscriber information and traffic data associated with criminal activity, and expedited cooperation in obtaining stored computer data in emergencies.”

Notably Absent: Russia and China

Some 66 countries are currently party to the Convention. Russia and China are not participants.

“It is our collective vision that every country that is serious about fighting cybercrime and that provides for the protection of human rights should become party to the Budapest Convention,” Downing said. “The Convention strikes the right balance between imposing obligations on nations to have robust laws and capabilities and providing the flexibility necessary for nations with different legal systems to join.”

The signing is the culmination of nearly four years of negotiation by the U.S. delegation, composed of U.S. Department of Justice and Department of State representatives, and other participating nations.

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