Addresses the rapid expansion of computer connectivity and the opportunities provided for criminals to exploit security vulnerabilities in the online environment.
International efforts to combat cyber‐crime are reviewed by evaluating the forms of mutual legal assistance (MLA) now in place.
Cyber‐crime is often traditional crime (e.g. fraud, identify theft, child pornography) albeit executed swiftly and to vast numbers of potential victims, as well as unauthorised access, damage and interference to computer systems. Most detrimental are malicious and exploit codes that interrupt computer operations on a global scale and along with other cyber‐crimes threaten e‐commerce. The cross‐national nature of most computer‐related crimes have rendered many time‐honoured methods of policing both domestically and in cross‐border situations ineffective even in advanced nations, while the “digital divide” provides “safe havens” for cyber‐criminals. In response to the threat of cyber‐crime there is an urgent need to reform methods of MLA and to develop trans‐national policing capability.
The international response is briefly outlined in the context of the United Nations (UN) Transnational Organised Crime Convention (in force from September 2003) and the Council of Europe's innovative Cyber‐crime Convention (in force from July 2004). In addition, the role of the UN, Interpol, other institutions and bi‐lateral, regional and other efforts aimed a creating a seamless web of enforcement against cyber‐criminals are described.
The potential for potent global enforcement mechanisms are discussed.
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