Cyberwar threat way down the agenda at NATO conference

Real war, not iWar, focus for heads of state

By contrast other influential international organisations meeting last week held conferences totally dedicated to cybercrime. The Council of Europe hosted two successive two-day conferences on cybercrime in Strasbourg, France. The first conference aimed to encourage the sharing of best practice in fighting cybercrime between law enforcement agencies and ISPs. The second of the two conferences, which ran on Thursday and Friday (3-4 April 2008), focused on the Convention on Cybercrime, the only global cybercrime treaty.

Threats including child pornography and racism to identity theft, fraud and cyber terrorism were debated at the first of the two conferences. The meeting brought together experts from all over the world, as well as representatives of governments, police forces and the internet industry – including Microsoft, eBay, Symantec and McAfee. The agenda included an assessment of cybercrime legislation, the identification of new threats and trends, and a discussion on improving international co-operation (including the sharing of best practices).

Plans for ISPs to share more data with government law enforcement agencies, debated at this conferences, have raised privacy concerns, the International Herald Tribune reports.

The guidelines, which build on the existing Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, call for formal partnerships between ISPs and law enforcement, and are described as the basis of first ever international agreement between private industry and law enforcement in the sphere of cybercrime.

The guidelines focus on three main areas:

  • Written procedures for the issue and process of law enforcement requests, along with training on how to implement the procedures;
  • Knowledge-sharing on cybercrime trends and feedback by law enforcement on investigations conducted on the basis of complaints filed by service providers.
  • Plans to establish ways for law enforcement to reach their criminal compliance personnel at ISPs outside normal business working hours.

The framework, which seeks to help ISPs and law enforcement structure their co-operation over the world, was agreed at the end of the conference as noted here.

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