G8 Agree to Reinforce Cooperation on Cybercrime

BRUSSELS (05/17/2000) - The G8 group of nations, representing the world's leading industrialized countries and Russia, agreed today to increase cooperation to fight cybercrime at the conclusion of their Paris meeting.

Co-chaired by Japan and France, the meeting was called to prepare for a discussion and agreement on cybercrime that will take place among G8 leaders during their annual meeting this year in Okinawa in July. Other participants include the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Italy, Germany and Russia.

Prompted by global concern over the growing threat of cybercrime, including the success of viruses like "ILOVEYOU" wreaking havoc across the Internet, the member governments agreed rapidly to extend an existing network of early warning contact points to cover cases of cybercrime and to mandate Interpol, the international police network, to supervise this network.

The group also backed France's call to extend the powers of Europol to fight not only illegal acts committed with the help of new technologies but cyber attacks against the systems themselves, according to a statement by the French Foreign Ministry issued at the close of the meeting.

At the concluding session in Paris today, the participants also confirmed their support of ongoing efforts within the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe to finalize a Convention on Cybercrime, which will be the first international treaty to deal with the different forms of criminal activity in cyberspace, according to the statement.

Although normally open only to all European countries -- including the 15 member states of the European Union -- due to the international nature of the Internet, the Council of Europe has welcomed the participation of Japan, the U.S., South Africa, Canada and Israel in the elaboration of this treaty.

The treaty requires signatories to pass and enforce laws regarding interception of data, interference with computer systems and fraud and forgery over the Internet. It also requires them to empower the appropriate national authorities to carry out computer searches and to seize computer data.

Meanwhile, as part of its effort to boost consumer and business confidence in electronic commerce in the EU, the European Commission is drafting a non-binding set of recommendations on cybercrime designed to promote greater cooperation among law enforcement agencies and industry. The Commission believes that only by ensuring the highest standard of security on the Internet will consumers turn to e-commerce, thus the importance of combating cybercrime.

At the summit this week, the G8 nations also examined proposals from a variety of private groups and industry organizations, including a proposal from the Global Internet Project (GIP). [See "GIP Issues Net Security Recommendations," on the wire today.]Documents related to the G8 meeting and the concluding statement can be accessed at http://www.diplomatie.fr/actual/evenements/cybercrim/.

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