Bush pushes for cybercrime treaty

Wednesday, 19 November 2003, 11:29 AM EST

In a letter to the Senate on Monday, Bush called the Council of Europe's controversial treaty "an effective tool in the global effort to combat computer-related crime" and "the only multilateral treaty to address the problems of computer-related crime and electronic evidence gathering."

Even though the United States is a nonvoting member of the Council of Europe, it has pressed hard for the cybercrime treaty as a way to establish international criminal standards related to copyright infringement, online fraud, child pornography and network intrusions. The U.S. Department of Justice says the treaty will eliminate "procedural and jurisdictional obstacles that can delay or endanger international investigations."

Civil libertarians have objected to the treaty ever since it became public in early 2000, arguing that it would endanger privacy rights and grant too much power to government investigators. So have industry groups such as Americans for Computer Privacy and the Internet Alliance. They raised concerns that the treaty could limit anonymity or impose vague record-keeping requirements on U.S. Internet providers.

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