Saturday, March 26, 2011

EU Convention On Cyber Crime

European Union’s Convention on Cyber Crime is the first international treaty on cyber law. The treaty endeavours to regulate cyber crimes at international level by harmonising national laws, improving cyber crimes investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations. The treaty came into force on 1 July 2004.

On 1 March 2006 the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime came into force. The additional protocol requires the States to punish as a criminal offence the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems, as well as of racist and xenophobic-motivated threats and insults.

Among other things, the convention deals with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also contains a series of powers and procedures such as the search of computer networks and lawful interception.

Although the objectives of the convention are praiseworthy, they have been by and large remained unfulfilled, says Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India. For instance, lawful interception laws are missing in most countries including India. Similarly, protecting children in cyberspace from various cyber crimes like cyber stalking, sexual abuses, etc is still an unfulfilled dream, informs Dalal. The truth is that cyberspace is still an unfriendly place for juveniles, says Dalal.

Similarly, on the front of civil liberties in cyberspace as well the convention failed to make much difference. For instance, there should be a balance between law enforcement requirements and civil liberties. However, in the name of national security, human rights are very frequently and openly violated by various nations, including India, informs Dalal.

International cyber law harmonisation is still an unfulfilled dream as various nations are not willing to cooperate in this regard. All nations have their own agendas and priorities that are preventing adoption of an internationally acceptable cyber law treaty.