International Aspects of Computer Crime
With the explosive growth of the Internet worldwide, computer crimes increasingly are prone to have international dimensions. Some of the challenges faced by law enforcement on the international front include: harmonization of countries' criminal laws; locating and identifying perpetrators across borders; and securing electronic evidence of their crimes so that they may be brought to justice. Complex jurisdictional issues arise at each step. The Department of Justice is working with foreign governments through many channels to address global threats related to computer crime.
On November 23, 2001, in Budapest, Hungary, the United States and 29 other countries signed the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, the first multilateral instrument drafted to address the problems posed by the spread of criminal activity on computer networks. The Cybercrime Convention will require parties to establish laws against cybercrime, to ensure that their law enforcement officials have the necessary procedural authorities to investigate and prosecute cybercrime offenses effectively, and to provide international cooperation to other parties in the fight against computer-related crime.
The United States actively participated in the drafting of the Cybercrime Convention from the beginning and accepted comments and consulted with interested persons and groups, especially after the draft text was first made public in April 2000. Ambassador Nancy Brinker signed the Convention on behalf of the United States. In order for the Convention to enter into force in the United States, it first must be ratified by the President, after the President receives the advice and consent of the Senate. On November 17, 2003, President Bush transmitted the Convention to the Senate with a view to receiving its advice and consent to ratification. See the full report of the President's Message to the Senate on the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (November 17, 2003).
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing concerning the Convention on Cybercrime and other law enforcement treaties on June 17, 2004. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz testified on the Convention and other Multilateral Law Enforcement Treaties, urging the Senate to give rapid advice and consent to its ratification. See Statement of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "Multilateral Law Enforcement Treaties" (June 17, 2004).
On August 3, 2006, the United States Senate voted to ratify the Cybercrime Convention.
On September 22, 2006, the President signed the United States instrument of ratification for the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. The United States became a party to the Convention upon despoit of the instrument of ratification at the Council of Europe on September 29, 2006. The Convention entered into force for the United States on January 1, 2007.