Feeds

US cybercrime push ‘imperils personal security’ of Americans

Even the Serbians will look up your records

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

White House plans to ratify a Council of Europe Cybercrime treaty will be a disaster for the privacy and security of Americans, Privacy International (PI), the human rights watchdog, claims.

President Bush this week urged Senators to back the adoption of the mutual assistance Treaty into US law. The Treaty, designed to streamline cooperation between signatory countries, will significant expand the power of investigators to access data and prosecute offences ranging from copyright infringement to "hate speech".

PI warns that if the Senate ratifies the Treaty, "dozens of countries will have 'on demand' access to the personal information and communications records of any American they may wish to investigate". This data - including full email logs, phone records and mobile phone location data together with account and financial records - could be "cherry picked" by investigating authorities in countries that ratify the treaty.

Providing the US signs up to the Treaty, the personal details of millions of US citizens will be available "on demand" to Balkan and former communist countries, PI says.

Safeguards? What safeguards?

PI warns that the "low standard of evidence or authentication demanded for these transfers of personal information creates exceptional dangers to many ethnic and minority groups in the US".

The conditions for sharing this information mean that intelligence could concern offences which are criminal in the requesting country, but not in the US. Grounds for refusing to share data are limited.

The ratification of the Treaty would make data regarding US citizens available to governments around the world with little oversight or control, according to PI. It warns the treaty will "open the floodgates for overseas government and private bodies" looking for sensitive personal information.

Only very basic information about the purposes of the data would be given to US officials.

Civil liberties organisations have opposed the treaty from the beginning.

In an open letter two years ago, critics argued: "the convention continues to be a document that threatens the rights of the individual while extending the powers of police authorities, creates a low-barrier protection of rights uniformly across borders, and ignores highly-regarded data protection principles".

Simon Davies, PI director, said the Treaty "imperils the constitutional and judicial protections that Americans enjoy. Ratification will compromise every safeguard in US law. The Treaty is ill considered, regressive and unnecessary and should be rejected by the Senate." ®

Related Stories

Security fears over UK 'snooper's charter'
UK 'snoopers charter' claimed to break EU law
Euro thought police criminalize impure speech on line
World leaders use terror card to watch all of us. Forever
Int'l cybercrime treaty remains horrid

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.