Skip to Content

Global Gridlock on Cyber Crime

June 22, 2010

The first international treaty on fighting cyber crime went into effect six years ago. Called the European Convention on Cybercrime, it aims to make different country’s laws compatible and promote investigative coöperation. But progress has stalled.

Just 30 nations, including the United States, have ratified the treaty. China and Brazil haven’t even signed it. Most troubling is that Russia–which the Internet infrastructure company Akamai identifies as the leading source of computer attacks as of late 2009–has also refused to sign. Russia objects to a provision that would let foreign investigators bypass governments and work directly with network operators.

In the face of all these delays, criminal threats continue to evolve. Cloud computing, in particular, makes it easy to move data across borders and obscure the true origin of attacks. Some European politicians say that the European Union should create a cyber security czar. Other experts think countries should just work out agreements one on one. “We need to cut deals with countries we have problems with, not pursue a general convention which requires ratification in many countries,” says Veni Markovski, who ran an Internet service provider in Bulgaria and is the representative to Russia from ICANN, the organization that assigns Internet domain names.

Representatives from the major nations have gathered several times recently for talks that could lead to bilateral agreements. Without one we’re all less secure, because cyber criminals know they can wage attacks without getting caught, says Charles Barry, senior research fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. “Agreement among at least the major cyber players on what constitutes illicit behavior should be a high priority,” he says.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept
AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept

The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere

The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.