There is a current push for cyber crimes to be addressed at an international level. There have been several attempts at international cyber crime treaties and conventions to facilitate the international cyber crime legislation, with varying success in different countries. Because of the nature of cyber crime, it is exceptionally easy for an individual or group in one country to commit crimes that affect people in other countries. For this, and for other related reasons, unified international cyber crime law would be extremely beneficial.
Goals of international cyber crime law
Most international cyber crime legislative attempts have similar goals in mind. First, they seek to define criminal activity via online platforms in a way that all nations can understand and agree with. That is, what is a crime in one country, in terms of cyber security, would be a crime in all countries. This type of unified definition would greatly simplify the process of prosecuting individuals around the world for criminal behaviour.
Another important goal of international cyber crime legislation is to ensure cooperation between law enforcement bodies in multiple countries to effectively apprehend and prosecute cyber criminals. For example, if a hacker in Germany is found to have perpetrated a scam that targeted citizens in Australia, international cyber crime law would require that German law enforcement bodies cooperate with those in Australia to apprehend the criminal.
Finally, truly effective international cyber crime laws would institute the necessary search and seizure practices in each participating country, so that investigations could be carried out in an efficient and effective manner. Setting standards, for example, regarding what information ISPs might be required to store, and for how long, regarding their customers’ internet usage could help law enforcement take down cyber criminals.
Criticisms of international cyber crime law
Despite the obvious advantages presented by international cyber crime laws, there are some criticisms. Some feel that the broadness necessary for these laws to be effective on a global scale would make them too easy to abuse. Others feel that ensuring the privacy of citizens effectively under these laws on a global scale would be impossible, because of the powers of surveillance that would be required for international cyber law to be effective. Finally, even the definition of what constitutes a crime can be a very difficult compromise for some nations given different philosophies on free speech and intellectual property rights.