Saturday, July 16, 2011

Attorneys General seek to co-operate in terms of Cybercrime

Cyber security and crime represents a significant and growing threat to everyone around the world

The Attorneys General from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand plan to co-ordinate their efforts to combat internet crime more closely. The prosecutor quintet's third meeting since 2009 will be held on Thursday in Sydney, Australia.

According to a media release by the hosting Australian Attorney General, Robert McClelland, the meeting will focus on joint and cooperative actions that can be taken to address the growth of international cyber-threats. McClelland's spokesperson denied reports of potential plans for a cybercrime agreement between the quintet countries, pointing out Australia's ongoing preparations to sign and ratify the 2001 Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

In late June, McClelland and the Australian home secretary, Brendan O'Connor, introduced a bill that is designed to prepare Australia for adopting the Convention on Cybercrime. In addition to the ability to "quick freeze" telecommunications data, the bill aims to regulate confidentiality obligations in terms of data access, and contains minor amendments to the criminal laws against intrusions into computers and data manipulations. The bill is currently being discussed by the Joint Select Committee on Cyber Security.

With Australia intending to adopt the Convention on Cybercrime, the only remaining quintet member that will have not done so is New Zealand. However, the Convention still needs to be put into practice, not only in Australia, but also in the UK and in Canada. The Convention on Cybercrime is currently
only in force in the US. The UK will follow in September 2011.

At their meeting in Sydney, the five Attorneys General will also lead discussions on a range of key national security and legal policy issues. For example, the UK Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, will report on the disclosure of digitally stored material, while Robert McClelland will present Australia's strategy for countering violent extremism on the internet.

The Australian authorities say that they will spend up to a million dollars (about £660,000) on supporting citizens' rights groups that raise public awareness on violent extremism and build community resilience to radicalisation and extremist views.

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