Council of Europe Opens Convention on Cybercrime

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Monday, April 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On November 23, 2001, the Council of Europe opened for signature its Convention on Cybercrime. The Convention culminates from many years of work and requires measures to be taken at the national level and international cooperation. The Convention enables the international community to respond to the transnational computer crimes facilitated by the revolution in information technologies that allows persons globally to transmit instantaneously ideas, images, capital, technology, and other matters via computers. The agreement to take measure at the national level in substantive criminal law responds to the difficulty criminal law is having in keeping pace with dynamic technological developments that offer highly sophisticated opportunities for misusing facilities of the cyber-space and causing damage to legitimate interests. Effective international actions requires a common approach to conceptualizing and defining cyber-crimes, as well as definitions, sanctions, and responsibility of the actors in cyber-space, including Internet service provider. Providers and users of computers who participate in significant international transactions will want to follow the Convention, since it may impact on some of their operating procedures, in the event a signatory in which they reside or do business cooperates in the framework of the Convention. The private sector and governments officials will also want to scrutinize the framework and policies because they are likely to presage other cooperation and policies on a regional basis vis-a-vis cyber-crimes.