International Cooperation Required To Tackle Global Cybercrime

 Author(s): , Posted on October 12th, 2011

One of the best things about the Internet is the way it removes geographic barriers and provides access to a global market place and information resource. However these same qualities also enable the greatest threat from the Internet: cybercrime.

Cybercrime is global in nature.  As such it cannot be fought with traditional laws – often the perpetrator has never set foot in the country where their victims reside.  No one country can combat the problem effectively.  Therefore international cooperation is essential for a concerted global fight against cybercrime.

The Move Towards a Global Fight Back Is Gaining Steam.

The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is the first international treaty on crimes committed either against or via computer networks, dealing particularly with online fraud, offences related to child pornography and unauthorised access, use or modification of data stored on computers.

Recently the Australian Federal Government indicated it would set up the legislative framework to enable consent to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, which will allow it to work alongside the more than 40 nations who now support the Convention (including the UK and US).  Unisys has formally declared its support for this move.

Privacy And Civil Liberties Issues Will Need To Be Taken Into Account.

Striking the right balance between security and privacy will remain a key challenge for international cooperation across jurisdictions.  Sensible safeguards will need to be in place to ensure that investigation and pursuit of crime does not infringe on people’s privacy and civil liberties [if innocent], particularly when dealing with electronic and potentially highly sensitive identification information.

It is critical to ensure personal identity information, most notably biometrics including DNA, is treated with greater sensitivity under the relevant domestic privacy laws.  Security measures that better protect an individual’s personal information from unauthorised hacking, replication or misuse, by their very nature increase privacy protection and build confidence and trust as a result.  It is in this sense that the Convention could play a key confidence building role.

The community’s attitudes toward privacy are evolving.  Because of this, it is important to continue to test assumptions being made about the level of community support for certain types of security measures.

Security Index Finds Willingness in Consumers to Accept their Role in Security

Since we started conducting the Unisys Security Index (regular public opinion polling of consumer attitudes toward various security related issued) in 2006, we have observed that people expect security in many dimensions of their lives – to enable them to do their banking online and to travel easily, for example.  With this comes a willingness to participate in security by doing some things they once might not have done, or by providing sensitive personal information if it means their security will be better protected.

For instance, approximately

  • 70% of Australians would be prepared to use a photograph, voice recording or scan of the eye to prove their identity, and
  • 76% would be willing to provide their fingerprint (the most popular method).
  • Approximately 70% of Australians would be prepared to give a biometric to an airport or airline, or participate in some other traveller identity scheme, if it meant greater security and fast tracking through security procedures at airports.

We see similar results reflected in the Unisys Security Index worldwide.

The same research finds that Australians consistently are more concerned about misuse of their personal information than any other security issue. This is reinforced by the public attention to recent high profile breaches. Clearly privacy remains important to most people.  However, today people are willing to forgo some degree of privacy if it means that their personal or financial information, or their personal safety, will be better protected.

We believe it is important to maintain and build public confidence that they are protected wherever a crime against Australia, our people or our interests, is committed.

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About the Author

John Kendall is the Director of the Border and National Security Program for the global public sector practice at Unisys. Based in Canberra Australia, John has overall responsibility for Unisys border and national security initiatives around the globe. Read all Posts





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