Rich nations to work together against cyber crime (Reuters)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Sunday May 14, 6:01 am Eastern Time
Rich nations to work together against cyber crime
By Joelle Diderich
PARIS, May 14 (Reuters) - Leading industrialised nations, faced with a growing threat from global computer viruses like the devastating ``Love Bug'', were set to meet on Monday to discuss ways to coordinate their fight against cyber crime.
The Group of Eight (G8) meeting in Paris will exchange tips on how to combat increasingly sophisticated computer crimes which are capable of shutting down computers across the planet, threatening security and causing billions of dollars of damage.
That danger was highlighted this month when millions of computers worldwide were hit by the ``Love Bug'' virus, including some in the U.S. Pentagon and the British Parliament.
The virus, which appeared in e-mail messages seductively entitled ``ILOVEYOU'', has caused losses of $7 billion so far.
It was eventually traced to a trio of Filipino computer students in their 20s, pointing to the need for international cooperation to tackle a crime wave which defies national boundaries.
Western goverments admit their laws have not kept pace with fast-changing technology.
The French Foreign Ministry said cyber crime -- which includes offences ranging from credit card fraud to spreading child pornography -- was growing exponentially as more and nore households hooked up to the Internet.
``Network intrusions and the spreading of malicious programmes, which were previously perpetrated by students or computer experts, are now within the reach of the majority of Internet users,'' it said in a briefing document.
But the ministry said computer crimes still lacked visibility, partially because many individuals were unaware they were being attacked and companies were reluctant to report security breaches for fear of harming their share price.
Experts say high-profile attacks like the ones which paralysed major commercial sites like Yahoo! and Amazon.com (NasdaqNM:AMZN - news) in February are likely to multiply as online services migrate to new platforms such as mobile phones.
EUROPE WARY OF ``BIG BROTHER'' APPROACH
The three-day meeting in Paris will bring together judges, police, diplomats, business leaders and civil liberties groups.
Differences have already appeared in the U.S. and European approaches to tackling the problem.
The United States favours a rapid and flexible solution such as the creation of an international cyber police.
But Europe, worried that stricter policing of the Internet could encourage ``Big Brother''-style state prying into personal affairs, prefers judicial cooperation along traditional lines.
Recommendations from the meeting, which will be jointly chaired by France and Japan, will be taken up by G8 leaders when they hold their next summit in Okinawa in July.
-- News (email@example.com), May 15, 2000
The real problem is that the Cyber-Criminals are working together against the Rich Nations!
Just the Facts, Maam.
-- (Cyber@Squat.com), May 15, 2000.
That's bullshit. Those students were simply trying to harass someone they hated and their code mucked up, spreading farther than they ever INTENDED. You conspiracy theorists are freaks.
-- (SpaceCases @re .here), May 15, 2000.
Curious, but that's not what the US gummint (and they 'obviously know all) says.
But it was kind and sensitive for you to have noted your complaint.
Have a nice day.
-- Legends (InTheirOwn@Minds.com), May 15, 2000.
Tuesday May 23 05:31 PM EDT
Governments Mull Net Crime Rules
By Doug Brown, Inter@ctive Week
All politics, said former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, is local. But in borderless cyberspace - a terra unfirma where a trio of students from the Phillipines, for example, can infest computers around the world with a computer virus called the Love Bug - "local" loses all relevant meaning. And as the Internet spreads and gets rooted in countries around the globe, it is increasingly the subject of international political debate and a target for government regulation.
Government officials of the eight most powerful industrialized nations in the world met in Paris this month to discuss cybercrime. At least one thing was clear at the end of the three-day summit: The world is finally sitting up and paying attention to the Internet and the criminal elements that lurk at its edges.
Broadly, representatives from the Group of Eight (G8) countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. - called for "coregulation" of the Internet by industry and governments.
"The idea is to produce a global [agreement] so there cannot be 'digital havens' or 'Internet havens' where anyone planning some shady business could find the facilities to do it," said French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement at the conference.
The devil, of course, dances among the details.
The host of ideas floated at the cybercrime conference - a precursor to the next full meeting of the G8 in Okinawa, Japan, in July - includes requiring Netizens to register to use the Internet and creating an international force of "cyberpolice," supported by the U.S., that would scour the Net for criminal activity.
The U.S.-supported proposals - including the cybercops idea, which was roundly criticized by other members of the G8 - trouble Alan Davidson, staff counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington, D.C.-based privacy watchdog organization.
"Ironically, the United States, which has generally been a force for rights and liberty around the world, has a very mixed record on cyberspace," he says. "The surveillance agenda has tended to dominate U.S. thinking about cybercrime."
The U.S. has a disturbing propensity to use incidents of Internet crime - such as the Love Bug virus - as levers to ratchet down Internet anonymity and freedom, Davidson says.
"The good news," Davidson says, "is there's a lot of productive stuff that can be done to raise the awareness of other countries for better rules to protect all of us online. The danger is if this becomes an excuse for re-engineering the Internet."
The U.S. is fixated on increased monitoring and making the Internet less anonymous, he says, rather than on beefing up security and giving law enforcement the tools to root out online crime and criminals.
"Some of these ideas are very invasive," Davidson says. "The idea of authenticating every Internet user, or requiring them to get regulatory approval before going online, of putting ISPs [Internet service providers] in the position of monitoring Internet traffic on behalf of governments - those are intrusive changes in the way business is done online."
He is echoed by Ben Isaacson, executive director at the Association for Interactive Media, a trade organization for Internet companies. Isaacson is particularly concerned with how the proposals could affect ISPs, which under some plans would be required to store traffic data for three months and even monitor the content of everything that goes on their networks.
"You show me a G8 member who really understands the Net, who has a booming Internet economy," Isaacson says. "It's kind of silly. ISPs should not be required to do anything. They should voluntarily work with law enforcement to create policies that say 'If you break the law, we will come after you.' We feel the governments should not be telling companies what to do, but the companies should be telling governments what to do."
Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, a large and influential information technology trade association, acknowledges that the G8 cybercrime discussions are negotiating some potentially treacherous waters. But the danger, he says, should not dissuade governments from engaging in the discussion.
"Clearly the need for international cooperation is very strong," Miller says. "The situation in the Phillipines, where they don't even have a law against hacking, shows the downside of not having international cooperation."
-- News (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 24, 2000.