Risk
8/7/2006
08:30 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Senate OKs Controversial Internet Treaty

The international Convention on Cybercrime is 'world's worst Internet law,' critics say

The U.S. Senate Friday ratified an international treaty designed to ease investigation of cybercrime, but U.S. civil liberties groups say that signing the pact is a big mistake.

The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime, which began circulating in 2001, has been adopted by 41 other countries, including most of Europe as well as Canada and Japan. It is designed to harmonize laws on computer crime, which differ from country to country.

Countries that sign the treaty agree to establish some common laws against criminal behavior online, such as attacks on computer networks, terrorist tactics, and exploitation of children. The language of the treaty is very broad and doesn't require the U.S. to write any new cybercrime laws.

However, by signing the treaty, the U.S. will now be bound to aid its partner countries in the investigation of cybercrime, even if the alleged perpetrators have not violated any U.S. statute, critics say. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) both called the treaty the "world's worst Internet law."

"Countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the FBI to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments," the EFF said. "American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdictions' requests to log their users' behavior without due process, or compensation."

However, Council of Europe documentation on the treaty suggests that the EFF may be oversimplifying the treaty's position on ISPs. "Service providers are obligated only to preserve (i.e., not delete or disclose) data that they are currently storing, if requested to do so by law enforcement with respect to specified data in a particular case," the Council says. ISPs aren't required to retain or disclose data not needed for business purposes, it says.

Still, critics are concerned about the mandate for U.S. law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes on behalf of other countries. "A future leftist President could even allow Communist China to sign on to the treaty and direct U.S. law enforcement to investigate Chinese dissidents, even Americans, based in the United States," postulated one critic.

But U.S. law enforcement agents are happy about the treaty, because it will help them to investigate cybercrimes launched from other countries. The pact will help law enforcement agencies to obtain electronic evidence needed to prosecute cybercrime cases, says U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0914
Published: 2014-07-30
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM Maximo Asset Management 6.2 through 6.2.8 and 6.x and 7.x through 7.5.0.6, Maximo Asset Management 7.5 through 7.5.0.3 and 7.5.1 through 7.5.1.2 for SmartCloud Control Desk, and Maximo Asset Management 6.2 through 6.2.8 for Tivoli IT Asset Management f...

CVE-2014-0915
Published: 2014-07-30
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in IBM Maximo Asset Management 6.2 through 6.2.8, 6.x and 7.1 through 7.1.1.2, and 7.5 through 7.5.0.6; Maximo Asset Management 7.5 through 7.5.0.3 and 7.5.1 through 7.5.1.2 for SmartCloud Control Desk; and Maximo Asset Management 6.2 through 6.2.8...

CVE-2014-0947
Published: 2014-07-30
Unspecified vulnerability in the server in IBM Rational Software Architect Design Manager 4.0.6 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary code via a crafted update site.

CVE-2014-0948
Published: 2014-07-30
Unspecified vulnerability in IBM Rational Software Architect Design Manager and Rational Rhapsody Design Manager 3.x and 4.x before 4.0.7 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary code via a crafted ZIP archive.

CVE-2014-2356
Published: 2014-07-30
Innominate mGuard before 7.6.4 and 8.x before 8.0.3 does not require authentication for snapshot downloads, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted HTTPS request.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio