Via Michael Geist's newsletter on Internet law, I learn that the Council of Europe's cybercrime convention has entered into force due to its fifth ratification — from Lithuania. The US has signed but not yet ratified. The key aspect of the convention is that it imposes a duty on signatories to do Carnivore-like snooping on domestic internet users at the request of a foreign government…so long as the snooping method is consistent with domestic law.
It's widely believed that the US wrote this and pushed it through the Council, both to get access to foreign communications and especially to impress on Congress that Carnivore in the US should be seen as business as usual, and something demanded by our allies.
Here's the text of the press release:
Strasbourg, 18.03.2004 – The Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime will enter into force following its ratification today by Lithuania as the 5th country. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, has welcomed this important step in the international fight against cybercrime, and has encouraged more countries to ratify the agreement.
The convention, which is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the internet and other computer networks, is the result of four years’ work by experts from the 45-member Council of Europe and from non-member countries including the USA, Canada and Japan.
The main aim of the convention – which focusses in particular on child pornography, computer-related fraud and violations of network security – is to develop a common criminal policy on cybercrime by promoting international co-operation and the adoption of appropriate legislation.
“The Convention on Cybercrime is a ground-breaking agreement which will play a key role in fighting computer-related crime. Cybercrime is a major global challenge which requires a co-ordinated international response – I therefore urge all of those Council of Europe member states which have not yet signed or ratified the convention to do so as a matter of priority,” said the Secretary General.
The Council of Europe is planning a major international conference on “The Challenge of Cybercrime”, which will bring together senior politicians, computer industry leaders and experts from around the world in Strasbourg from 15 to 17 September 2004.