Feeds

US cybercrime push ‘imperils personal security’ of Americans

Even the Serbians will look up your records

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.