Computer Crime Research Center


Criminalization of computer wrongdoing prerequisite for combating computer crime

Date: April 25, 2005

... issue of technical assistance.

VALERIY PIDPALY ( Ukraine ) noted that computer crime was an offence under his country’s criminal code. The criminal code had been amended on numerous occasions. In 2004, new provisions were added to the code, establishing that computer crimes would be investigated by the country’s Interior Services. During the recent election, an investigation had been carried out into the case of a virus causing disruption of the country’s computer system. On 1 January 2005, a new law had entered into force, establishing liability for cybercrimes. He hoped that the sharing of experience in the field would promote the introduction of proposals to improve methods to target cybercrime.

WOLFGANG SPADINGER ( Austria ) said he had been both impressed and frightened by the presentations. It was imperative that the international community concentrate on the area of technical cybercrime. What were the major impediments for their investigations and for the prevention of cybercrime and what could the international community do to overcome those impediments?

MUSTAPHA M. OMAR DEBARA ( Libya ) raised the issue of crime resulting from the increased use of electronic payments. Many banks were now using such systems, and there were great weaknesses in the systems. Crime had existed since the dawn of civilization, and it would be difficult to imagine the complete suppression of crime. Yet, the fight against crime had been ongoing. In fighting crime, however, the rights of individuals ultimately needed to be respected.

Responding to the various questions, Mr. SANSOM said a series of basic building blocks needed to be in place in order to address the major impediments, including laws at the domestic level to gather evidence. Mechanisms were also needed at the international level. He also suggested greater recourse to mutual legal assistance measures.

Also addressing the issue of impediments, Mr. McCULLOCH explained that the legislation of a number of countries did not permit them to send a picture for the Interpol database.

Ms. HUBBARD ( United States ) stressed the need to develop greater outreach and partnerships with the private sector since it controlled the vast majority of critical infrastructure. Without that sector’s knowledge and input, progress would never be made. Sharing resources and training opportunities was also critical. The International Telecommunication Union ( ITU ) had been looking at the issue of harmonization to allow investigations to proceed faster. The technical aspect of cooperation was often harder than police cooperation.

Regarding development projects, she said the United States had two outreach programmes through the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID ) that looked at the information security standards when new telecommunications were going into a country. It was better to look at security on the front end so that people running the system would understand the default settings for the software and how to keep security running.

JEAN-PIERRE VIDON ( France ) said cybercrime undermined the security of individuals, corporations, institutions, and also values. It required a comprehensive response which required technology and investigation. France was focusing on awareness-raising. There was also a need to intensify law enforcement efforts, not only by specialists but by all personnel to strengthen investigative capacities. It was necessary to monitor the Internet in order to identify illicit material of a terrorist, paedophile or racist nature. Technology research centres had to be established in order to stay a step ahead of offenders.

He said international cooperation must be developed as computer-related crimes did not take national borders into account. The Convention of the Council of Europe on Cybercrime had entered into force last year and was open to third-party States. Four non-European States had signed it. The Gendarmerie had created a department for the fight against cybercrime with the task of policing the networks. It also had the task of following up on any information received from individuals. Also a centre for analysis of paedophile images had been set up. That centre cooperated closely with counterparts abroad, especially with Interpol.

GARCIA MODILLO ( Spain ) said his country was creating a mechanism to monitor the use of new technologies by criminals. It also wanted to create indicators on Internet use. Spain wanted to examine innovative programmes to stay ahead of the game. He asked whether Interpol had a specific programme in that regard. He also suggested that UNODC establish a contact network of experts.

Mr. MCCULLOCH said Interpol had held a major seminar on cybercrime in Lyon, which had attracted a large number of delegates. Interpol was also represented within the G-8 group, and it was important to avoid duplication of effort. The 24/7 call-out system was an example.

KEVIN McNULTY ( United Kingdom ) asked about the possibility of a computer crime manual. He also wanted to plug the 24/7 contact network; 39 countries had joined the network, and the more that did, the better. He wondered whether a database had already been established.

Mr. REDO said that, in the past, there had been training activities on the United Nations criminal justice information network. Ten years ago, the Government of the Republic of Korea had proposed a training course on the United Nations Criminal Justice Network.

Mr. McCULLOCH said there was a training manual specifically for officers investigating crimes against children. Interpol also partnered with the United States Centre of Missing and Exploited Children. Around 800 police officers had been trained in the last year. The subject of a database had been mentioned before. It was difficult to keep up to date.

GRACIELA SCARNATI ALMADA ( Argentina ) said it seemed that disparate efforts needed to be coalesced into one United Nations programme in order to better monitor the situation. It was like having a number of pearls but no string. Many countries did not even have legislation on cybercrime. Did the panel think that one of the United Nations programmes could act as coordinator for the various efforts?

DANIEL A. MacRURY ( Canada ) said that, as a front line prosecutor, he had experienced that cooperation worked in specific cases, as well as in the area of training. The 24/7 contact list of the G-8 was crucial, but equally crucial was to have better contacts with prosecutors worldwide on an ongoing basis. He suggested establishment of a contact list of all prosecutors worldwide, as well as a training manual for prosecutors.

Mr. SANSOM reacted by saying that the 24/7 contact network was restricted to computer crime and law enforcement agencies that already had a capacity and resources to deal with computer-related crimes. There was, indeed, room for other contact networks, such as for prosecutors.

Ms. HUBBARD ( United States ) said that, regarding a training manual for prosecutors, some resources were available within the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice. She did not now know of any centralized database on available training, but there was an informal network of prosecutors that was involved in training.

Mr. GRABOSKY drew attention to the fact that, at the regional level, organizations of prosecutors existed. Those bodies could provide a platform for training.

Mr. McCULLOCH said that Interpol had introduced a communication system called I-24/7, a virtual private network that was totally secure. Interpol bureaus in each country could pass out the tools to law enforcement agencies to get instant access to information in Interpol databases.

BRAHIM BOUABID ( Morocco ) said his country had been formulating legislation on computer-related crimes for two years. It had implemented a law on data-processing and against terrorism related to computer use. There were, however, problems of implementation and of the presentation of evidence. He asked how evidence should be handled and how to get technical assistance to judges and lawyers. Could the United Nations come up with a manual for judges, lawyers and prosecutors, maybe geared to specific types of judicial systems?

Ms. HUBBARD ( United States ) said there were several organizations providing technical assistance to prosecutors and judges. Her own organization had provided technical assistance to Nigeria on a bilateral basis. The Council of Europe had also been involved in some outreach programmes.

Mr. SANSOM said that a number of model laws had been developed, among them one for the Commonwealth. The G-8 had also undertaken model law initiatives, one regarding the collection of evidence.

Mr. VIDON ( France ) said his country had reviewed its own body of law regarding protection of computer systems and techniques necessary to combat crime. He invited the delegate of Morocco to get in touch with the French Ministry of Justice for information.

EHAB ELSONBATY, an individual expert, said pornography was a sensitive issue. How far could one cooperate with countries that criminalized pornographic websites? he asked. He suggested that not only saving child pornography images should be a crime, but also navigating to find child pornography should be a crime.

Mr. McCULLOCH said that, regarding adult pornography, Interpol did nothing unless asked for action. Resources were focused on children who were sexually abused. Different countries had...

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