G8 Nations Meet to Discuss Cybercrimegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Monday May 15 8:46 AM ET G8 Nations Meet to Discuss Cybercrime By Tom Heneghan
PARIS (Reuters) - The world's leading industrialized states, struggling against Love Bug-style computer attacks from the most unexpected places, opened a cybercrime conference on Monday with a call to prevent lawless ``digital havens'' from springing up around the globe.
French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement, addressing officials from the Group of Eight (G8) nations and private industry, urged countries to agree on a world convention on cybercrime and harmonize their laws to crack down on hackers, virus writers, software pirates and other Internet fraudsters.
Governments and high-tech companies should develop a ''co-regulation'' of the Internet, he told the three-day conference aimed at launching a dialogue on computer security between the public and private sectors.
Drawing a parallel to international measures against tax havens that hide hot funds and launder money, Chevenement said a cybercrime convention being drawn up by the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe should become a global treaty.
``The idea is to produce a global text so there cannot be 'digital havens' or 'Internet havens' where anyone planning some shady business could find the facilities to do it,'' he said.
Countries also had to make clear to their citizens that the Internet was not a lawless zone, he added.
``An adolescent should know that, even if he is very gifted in computer science, the tricks he can play on the Internet could be serious crimes that land him in prison. Internet isn't a toy anymore.''
The high-tech blitz that flashed around the world in an e-mail entitled ``ILOVEYOU'' this month showed how vulnerable computer systems are to attack from anywhere. Unlike earlier viruses from the United States and Canada, the ``Love Bug'' was launched from the Philippines. The Paris conference, part of longer-term efforts by developed countries to fight cybercrime, brought together about 300 judges, police, diplomats and business leaders from the G8 states -- the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada plus Russia -- and private high-tech firms.
G8 leaders will take up its recommendations at their annual conference in July in Okinawa.
Chevenement said he hoped countries such as India, China, South Africa, Israel and the East European states would join in the effort. In his speech, Chevenement highlighted the transatlantic gap by rejecting the idea of an international ``cyberpolice'' supported by U.S. officials eager to crack down quickly on computer crime.
``Nothing could be more wrong,'' he declared. ``Sovereign states can develop the capacity to act, first at home and then in international cooperation.''
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said in a message to the conference that ``freedom is the most precious gift the Internet brings us.''
All states should ``fight the digital divide'' between high-tech haves and have-nots, he said, but at the same time ''restrain the excesses of an unfettered freedom.''
Cybercrime has risen rapidly in recent years as the World Wide Web lives up to its name.
A recent survey showed total losses to U.S. companies last year more than doubled to over $266 million.
Chevenement said France registered more than 2,500 Internet-linked crimes last year ``but that figure surely does not cover all big or small infractions.''
Experts say high-profile attacks like the ones which paralyzed major commercial sites like Yahoo! and Amazon.com in February are likely to multiply as online services migrate to new platforms such as mobile phones.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), May 15, 2000