Home Page | About Us | Press Enquiries| Reports | Policy Issues | News Items | Press Releases | Mailing Lists | Bookstore

US Policy

George W. Bush Message to the Senate of the United States on the CyberCrime Convention, 17 November, 2003

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (the "Cybercrime Convention" or the "Convention"), which was signed by the United States on November 23, 2001. In addition, for the information of the Senate, I transmit the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention and the Convention's official Explanatory Report.

The United States, in its capacity as an observer at the Council of Europe, participated actively in the elaboration of the Convention, which is the only multilateral treaty to address the problems of computer-related crime and electronic evidence gathering. An overview of the Conventions provisions is provided in the report of the Department of State. The report also sets forth proposed reservations and declarations that would be deposited by the United States with its instrument of ratification. With these reservations and declarations, the Convention would not require implementing legislation for the United States. The Convention promises to be an effective tool in the global effort to combat computer-related crime. It requires Parties to criminalize, if they have not already done so, certain conduct that is committed through, against, or related to computer systems. Such substantive crimes include offenses against the "confidentiality, integrity and availability" of computer data and systems, as well as using computer systems to engage in conduct that would be criminal if committed outside the cyber-realm, i.e., forgery, fraud, child pornography, and certain copyright-related offenses. The Convention also requires Parties to have the ability to investigate computer-related crime effectively and to obtain electronic evidence in all types of criminal investigations and proceedings.

By providing for broad international cooperation in the form of extradition and mutual legal assistance, the Cybercrime Convention would remove or minimize legal obstacles to inter-national cooperation that delay or endanger U.S. investigations and prosecutions of computer-related crime. As such, it would help deny "safe havens" to criminals, including terrorists, who can cause damage to U.S. interests from abroad using computer systems. At the same time, the Convention contains safeguards that protect civil liberties and other legitimate interests.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Cybercrime Convention, and that it give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to the reservations, declarations, and understanding described in the accompanying report of the Department of State.

GEORGE W. BUSH THE WHITE HOUSE

U.S. Chamber Opposes European Cyber Crime Treaty - December, 2000
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce urged Congress to prevent international action on cyber crime that would hurt U.S. interests, saying the current draft of a Council of Europe treaty could violate American consumers' rights and undermine economic growth in this country's technology sector. 
"The United States must not agree to any treaty that fails to protect the rights of consumers and places unnecessary and costly burdens on e-Commerce companies," said Rick Lane, Chamber Director of eCommerce and Internet Technology. "The treaty proposed by the Council of Europe goes too far and could undermine the incredible growth we have seen in electronic commerce." 
Protecting America's technological infrastructure from cyber-terrorism and computer hacking is critical to U.S. businesses that rely on the Internet to buy and sell goods, according to the Chamber. But the Council of Europe Convention on Cyber Crime would impose unworkable and possibly unlawful restrictions on the business practices of U.S. firms. 
"The Chamber is calling on Congress and the Department of Justice to protect the growing Internet marketplace for consumers and businesses," said Lane. "We are reaching out to our business partners around the world to warn them of the dangers presented by this treaty." 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region. 

See generally http://www.cybercrime.gov/ for US developments and policy and especially the International Aspects of Computer Crime section/

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Draft 24REV2) - December 1, 2000.

The Electronic Frontier: The Challenge of Unlawful Conduct Involving the Use of the Internet: A Report of the US Presidentís Working Group on Unlawful Conduct on the Internet, February 2000, at http://www.cyber-rights.org/documents/unlawfulconduct.html. The finalised report is at http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/unlawful.htm with a publication date of March 2000.