Cyberwar threat way down the agenda at NATO conference

Real war, not iWar, focus for heads of state

The second of the two conferences focused on the Convention on Cybercrime. The number of countries expected to have ratified the only global cybercrime treaty is projected to double this year.

So far, 22 countries have incorporated the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime into national laws, a much lower figure that its supporters hoped for when it was launched seven years ago, in 2001. However the Council reckons that momentum is growing. As many as 40 countries will have implemented measures that set guidelines for laws and procedures in dealing with cybercrime by February 2009.

The convention provides for improved cooperation between law enforcement agencies alongside swifter prosecutions of cybercrime.

Countries can only ratify the treaty after making changes to their national laws. Almost half the 43 countries who have signed the treaty are yet to ratify it, largely due to the glacial pace at which legislation can be enacted in many jurisdictions.

The UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany have all signed the treaty. Of these large European nation only France has ratified the treaty, as illustrated by a chart on the Council of Europe's website here.

Nations both inside and outside Europe are encouraged to ratify the treaty as part of attempts to fight international cybercrime. The US has already ratified the treaty and other countries outside the 47-member Council have expressed an interest in joining. Brazil, The Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, and South Africa are all in various stages of complying with the treaty, according to Alexander Seger, head of the economic crime division for the Council of Europe.

He compared the process of establishing an international cybercrime enforcement regime with earlier problems such as establishing a framework to combat money laundering. While slow the legal system inevitably catches up, he argued, Computerworld reports. ®

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