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What is the Convention on Cybercrime?

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  • Written By: K. Wascher
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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The Convention on Cybercrime is an international treaty ratified by more than 30 countries. The treaty was drafted by the Council of Europe in 2001. The main purpose of the the Convention on Cybercrime was to foster cooperation among nations to combat Internet and computer crimes on a global level. The most common types of cybercrimes include copyright infringement, child pornography, and pirating of privileged information. Since cybercrimes can take place across multiple countries and jurisdictions, the Council of Europe, in conjunction with the United States, Canada, and Japan, crafted a treaty that used the law enforcement resources of multiple nations.

On 23 November 2001, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe met in Budapest, Hungary, to discuss the issue of international cybercrime. Discussion centered on the legal challenges that emerged from attempted application of traditional criminal laws and statutes to an evolving global society. It was determined that traditional criminal procedures in member countries were inadequate, when operating separately, to handle new challenges emerging due to increased use and dependence on Internet technology.

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The Council of Europe designated a specific committee called the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) to analyze specific points of law and policy in an international context. Areas examined included specific types of crimes that the Convention on Cybercrime could address, issues of criminal law in member countries, international jurisdictional issues, and cooperation among member states regarding investigations and evidence. The Council of Europe gave the CDPC authority to draft a legally binding agreement for these specific points of law and policy. This agreement became the Convention on Cybercrime, which was later adopted and ratified by many member countries.

The Convention on Cybercrime consists of four chapters and 48 articles that detail the scope and extent of the treaty. The specific crimes or computer-related offenses outlined in the treaty include misuse of technological devices, fraud, forgery, child pornography, copyright violations, aiding and abetting, and issues of corporate liability. The treaty specifies under Article 13 that member countries must enact statutes to punish offenders.

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