Germany Ratifies Cybercrime Treaty

Germany has become the latest country to ratify the only international treaty concerning computer crime.

The Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime, which sets guidelines for laws and procedures for dealing with Internet crime, was adopted in 2001. Countries can sign the treaty, which indicates their willingness to comply, and then can ratify it after their laws have been modified.

So far, 47 countries have signed the treaty. Twenty-three of those have signed it but not ratified it. The Council of Europe was hoping that the number of ratifications would be around 40 by early this year, but progress has been slower than expected.

Part of the problem has been that countries have to modify their own laws before fully implementing the treaty, which can take time.

The convention is a focus of discussion at the Council of Europe's International Conference on Cybercrime, taking place Tuesday and Wednesday in Strasbourg, France.

The treaty should become the international legal platform for handling cybercrime, said Michel Quille, a deputy director and head of the corporate governance department for Europol, a European law enforcement organization.

Countries should also work toward establishing a common approach for how digital evidence should be presented in different courts, Quille said.

The treaty is aimed at strengthening ties between law enforcement agencies of different countries. One of the requirements under the treaty is for countries to have a law enforcement contact available at all hours in case another country needs assistance in a digital investigation.

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