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Date: 2000-12-06

Cyber-Crime Convention: Stillstand ist gut

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Die Anzeichen mehren sich, dass ein von Anfang an
schlechtes und schädliches Abkommen sich in eine Schleife
fügt. Dass diese möglicht near-on endlos werde, daran
arbeiten Menschen aus mehr als zehn verschiedenen
Ländern - pereat!

post/scrypt: erinnert sich noch wer an die Zeiten, als es
verschieden numerierte "Internationalen" gab?

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relayed by David Sobel <> via <gilc->

Monday December 4 2:21 PM ET

U.S. Embraces European Computer Crime Proposal

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has endorsed
the gist of a controversial European drive to tighten
cybercrime laws over the protests of privacy, civil liberties
and human rights advocates.

The central provisions of the 41-nation Council of Europe's
latest draft convention ``are consistent with the existing
framework of U.S. law and procedure,'' the Justice
Department said in a Friday posting on its cybercrime Web

At issue is the first multilateral pact drafted specifically to
deal with the cross-border nature of much computer-related

Targeted are such things as malicious code to disable Web
sites as well as computer use for such garden-variety crimes
like fraud, copyright infringement and distribution of child

The United States will decide whether to join only after the
drafting is wrapped up, probably later this month, and the
treaty is opened for signature, perhaps by the end of next
year, the Justice Department said.

But in a ``Frequently Asked Questions'' text, it played down
charges that the pact would stretch the long arm of the police
improperly in cyberspace, trample on individual privacy and
erode government accountability.

One key issue had to do with data-retention requirements for
Internet Service Providers, companies that serve as
electronic gateways to the Web.

Worldwide Groups

In an October 18 statement signed by groups around the
world, critics said logs based on such archived data had
been used to track dissidents and persecute minorities.

``We urge you not to establish this requirement in a modern
communications network,'' said a 27-group coalition including
the American Civil Liberties Union, Privacy International and
the Internet Society.

``Police agencies and powerful private interests acting
outside of the democratic means of accountability have
sought to use a closed process to establish rules that will
have the effect of binding legislation,'' the groups added.

In its response to these concerns, the Justice Department
said there was no such retention requirement at issue but a
data ``preservation'' provision.

``Preservation is not a new idea; it has been the law in the
United States for nearly five years,'' the statement said.

Similarly, it discounted critics' fears that the convention
would mandate surveillance capabilities be built into service
providers' architecture.

But ``there is no prohibition on states imposing such
requirements if necessary under their legal systems,'' the
posting said.

The latest draft by a panel of the Council of Europe, the 24th
in a marathon that began in the late 1980s with U.S. support,
was released on Nov. 19. The United States has had a ''real
voice'' in the drafting process, represented by the
Departments of State and Justice in close consultation with
other U.S. agencies, the FAQ said.

David Sobel, general counsel of the Washington-based
Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the Justice
Department was in effect acknowledging that the treaty could
be read ``to require some things that are very controversial,''
including redesign of system architecture to facilitate

Washington currently exempts Internet service providers from
the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of
1994. The law, crafted largely at the behest of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, requires other U.S.
telecommunications providers and equipment manufacturers
to build in a window for court-ordered wiretaps.

Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the American Civil
Liberties Union, said the pact could force police in the United
States to conduct searches under rules established by treaty
''that don't respect the limits of police powers imposed by the
U.S. Constitution.''

Sorce: Reuters

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published on: 2000-12-06
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